Microsoft ends Windows XP on netbooks

June 11, 2010

The Windows XP era looks, finally, to be coming to an end, with Microsoft stopping netbook manufacturers from pre-installing the bestselling operating system on new machines from October.

If you’re determined to keep using Windows XP despite its age and despite its fraying around the edges, then you should endeavor to make any planned netbook purchase before Oct. 22, 2010. As that is the date Microsoft has set to cut off supply to netbook manufacturers. In essence, Redmond is banning Windows XP in just four months time.

This date was set way back in April 2008, when October 2010 seemed like light years away. But we’re almost there, and Microsoft has seen fit to remind OEMs of the fast-approaching cutoff day in a Windows Team Blog post.

The fact is that most new netbooks come with Windows 7 installed on them anyway, with an estimated 4 out of every 5 netbooks sold at retail using Microsoft most recent OS. And this is a pretty quick turnaround, as Windows 7 was only released in October 2009.

So, with that in mind, will this new ruling actually make any difference? Possibly, at least for a select few netbook manufacturers.

According to ZDNet, there’s a big price difference between Windows XP and Windows 7. While an OEM can get an official copy of XP to load on to a new PC for $15, it’s estimated to be closer to $50 for an official copy of Windows 7. And that’s a big wedge of money when you’re dealing in low-end machines with very tight margins.

This could, possibly lead to the price being passed on to consumers, but my guess is that the price of components and manufacturing a netbook have decreased enough over the past two years to make everything balance out in the end.

If that is the case then this is actually good for consumers, as it means even the cheapest netbook will now come with Windows 7. Don’t get me wrong, XP was fine for its time, but Windows 7 is much more modern, secure, and powerful. And this will hopefully signal the beginning of the end for the veteran operating system.

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