Microsoft to offer downgrades from Windows 7 to Vista or even XP, will they stop at nothing to keep users in the Microsoft fold?
This Tuesday just past sees the end of general support for Microsoft's Windows XP and Office 2003, two products still in use on many millions of computers around the world. If you're one of those millions of users, don't panic too much, as there will still be free security updates and online support, but for anything bigger you'll require a support contract.
However, on top of that comes the slightly surprising news that users who buy a PC with Windows 7 pre-installed, or businesses that bulk-purchase licenses, will be able to downgrade from Windows 7 to an older OS if it fails to match their needs.
With the lifespan of, and support for, Windows XP being expanded on a regular basis, it looks like the venerable OS could well see out over a decade of life before Microsoft can finally consign it to history, something that seemed unlikely when the Vista bandwagon started rolling a few years back.
Windows 7 Gets Ready to Rock
Windows 7 definitely looks like making up for the loss of face in Vista, the latest leak of a beta, number 7077
, is doing the rounds on BitTorrent sites only makes minor visible changes, which means that the pie is very nearly cooked and ready for a full Release Candidate release, with speculation on dates ranging from next week to the end of May. Once that is out expect user interest in Windows 7 to really take off.
With a final release now in sight, Microsoft now has to figure out how to extract the maximum revenue, while keeping its new customer-friendly face firmly on show. A detailed BusinessWeek article reveals that the "starter" version of the OS could be being sold to box makers for a mere $15, just to get it to compete in the Netbook market and replace Windows XP. That happy face may start to take a bit of a pounding when users realise they are stuck with the "3-apps-and-you're-done" limitation, and getting a more functional OS will cost them a whacking great upgrade fee.