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Mailbag: XP Support, Windows 7 Upgrades

More readers give their thoughts on how long Microsoft should continue to support XP:

From my perspective, Microsoft should be prepared to continue sticking with XP at least until 2014 as it has previously stated. People will be watching their budgets very closely for the next two to five years and unless there is something so compelling that we all just have to get Windows 7, I think XP is going to be around for even longer. Like it or not, many of us just do not like Vista or are that keen on what we are seeing in Windows 7. We know XP backwards, it does everything we want, the software we currently own and use is more than adequate so no new cost is needed for either hardware or software.

XP has penetrated a vast market. I think Microsoft totally underestimates the marketplace and fails to grasp that no one likes to be bullied into accepting something by dull submission.

I think the scheduled EOL and support for XP is sufficient. XP has been out for a long time. It's already stable and happy and has lots of supporters and die-hard "don't kill it" petitioners. Five years of support? We should feel lucky.

Out with the old and in with the new, I say! Vista is stable, secure and has better mobility than XP.

Since there seems to be such a nose-turn at Vista, M$ should go ahead and bite the bullet of standing behind XP until Windows 7 has established itself as either good or bad. By that point, I'm thinking that either Vista will be good enough (with continued updates and patches) to stand up on its own or 7 will just settle in as the new XP replacement. In either case, I don't see IT managers taking XP offline and implementing either Vista or 7 until they are proven stable and unshakable. As long as this isn't the case, then XP is still going to be the OS of choice for most administrators.

And Marc thinks Microsoft's plan to upgrade Windows 7 starter packs over the Internet is nothing new:

No doubt about it, Windows 7 Starter Edition is crippled for no apparent reason. But the strategy of offering Anytime Upgrades for preloaded Windows software has always been available for all editions of Windows Vista. Windows 7, however, won't even require a software upgrade. As I understand it, the Anytime Upgrade will be nothing more than a new license key which will "unlock" the features of the version you buy.

Frankly, I think it is a smart approach -- provided the customer is not penalized by paying more for this kind of an upgrade than they pay for an OEM upgrade.

Check in on Friday for more reader letters! Meanwhile, share your own thoughts with us by writing to [email protected] or leaving a comment below.

Posted by Doug Barney on February 25, 2009