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Low-cost notebooks may extend XP


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Plan could be announced at IDF

As we told you last week, Microsoft is getting ready to finally put an end to the seven-year-old Windows XP OS at the end of June. But, hold the phone: it seems now that due to the increased popularity of new low-cost notebooks such as the Asus Eee PC, Everex Cloudbook, ECS G10IL and all of the new Intel Atom-based notebooks, that Windows XP might have to be given an extension or at least repackaged for this exploding market space.

According to what we have been hearing, Microsoft, while not very keen on extending the life of Windows XP yet again, has little choice but to do something or allow the various Linux distros to gain a foothold in this fast growing segment. Windows Vista is just simply too big and has hardware requirements that are just out of reach to notebook configurations at this price point.

Consumers naturally want Windows and would prefer XP, and the computer makers know that if they are forced to have to go with a Linux variant, it will be tough sledding until user acceptance catches up with reality. With users crying for these low-cost notebooks, it would appear that Microsoft is going to make an announcement regarding this very topic soon.

We believe that the news on the future of XP on these low-cost notebook platforms could come as soon as at IDF in China next week. As for what the announcement will say, that is really anyone’s guess; but we think it will be that either Microsoft will continue to make XP available to select OEMs for use in products that meet certain specifications, or that Microsoft is going to announce a new version of a Windows XP SKU that is targeted at this market space. It might be more stripped down and may not include all of the Windows XP features, for example.

Microsoft does realize that there is money to be made and it does not normally leave any money on the table. In this case, there really is no better solution than using Windows XP and extending the life of it just a bit longer until they have something better to fill the void. This is better for Microsoft long-term than allowing Linux to gain a foothold and wider customer acceptance through these low-cost notebooks.

Last modified on 02 April 2008
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