XP downgrades after Windows 7 ships? Business as usual

by admin April 8, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Microsoft has stated that customers will be able to downgrade all the way back to XP, provided they purchase from a supporting OEM. The news has surprised some; is this a hedge against Windows 7 failing to meet expectations, or simply business as usual?

Microsoft has announced this week that it will continue to offer downgrade options to both volume licensing customers and end-users when Windows 7 ships. Customers who purchase a system from a qualifying OEM with a version of Windows 7 that they don’t want will be able to fall back to equivalent versions of Vista or XP. This latest extension to XP’s availability has, inevitably, made the headlines, as if Microsoft’s decision to allow users to fall back to the venerable system is a judgment of Windows 7 before it even ships.

The announcement does not, however, represent any great shift in licensing policy. Volume license customers have long had the ability to use their licenses for any prior equivalent version of Windows—in principle allowing an organization to continue to install NT 4 or even Windows 95 if it preferred—and the continuation of this policy with Windows 7 is just business as usual.

Read more: arstechnica.com