We’ve certainly discussed the need to continue using XP on a lot of the mobile computers being sold today. Consumers and OEMs both are aware that the healthy hardware needs of Vista make the need to continue supplying XP as the OS of choice for these computers a hard reality. Microsoft has said that on June 30 XP preinstalls are to go away, although recently they seem to be back-pedaling on that a little. OEMs are now allowed to include XP "downgrades" with new computers as long as they preinstall Vista as Microsoft wishes. No doubt this is intended to allow Microsoft to keep quoting big sales numbers for Vista, even though many savvy consumers end up replacing the Vista install with the included XP.
Now Dell is flexing its muscles by offering to preinstall XP over the Vista install for select computers. This is clearly against Microsoft’s wishes and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Dell’s Windows XP Availability web page explains how this works:
When you are configuring your system online or through the help of oneof our sales experts, you will have the opportunity to select whichoperating system you would like on your PC. When selecting youroperating system, you will see an option called “Genuine Windows® Vista Business BONUS” and “Genuine Windows® Vista Ultimate BONUS.” With these options, you may purchase the licensed rights to Windows Vista but have Dell factory install Windows XP Professional.You will also receive a backup media disc for Windows XP Professionalas well as the media for Windows Vista so you can upgrade when you’reready. Furthermore, with these options Dell will provide technicalsupport for the factory-installed Windows XP Professional image andyour licensed version of Windows Vista.
While you are technically buying a system with Vista installed as per Microsoft’s wishes, Dell will save you the trouble of having to downgrade to XP yourself by doing it for you. This is no doubt in anticipation of consumer demand because Dell certainly wouldn’t go to this trouble just for fun. Let’s see how this all plays out.