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The software that refuses to die!

Anand Parthasarathy

Microsoft to kill off Windows XP on Monday, but users still want it

— Photo: Anand Parthasarathy

Not dead yet! Monday marks the ‘expiry’ date for Windows XP; but many users still prefer it to the anointed successor, Vista.

Bangalore: When it was launched in October 2001, the new version of Microsoft’s operating system for personal computers, Windows XP was so named for the new eXPerience it provided.

Tomorrow, XP will spell eXPiry. Microsoft will stop selling the XP version to retailers and PC manufacturers from June 30. They have been asked to stop preloading XP on their products from that date. There is a small exception made for low cost platforms, which will be able to continue loading the stripped down ‘home’ version of XP for another 6 months.

But to the rest of us, Microsoft seems to be saying: “We gave you a bigger, better version called Vista, more than 18 months ago. So start learning to love it — or lump it.” But lay users as well as corporate customers say: “Thanks, but no thanks! We don’t care for Vista: it is bloated and sluggish; it irritates us with a hundred promptings; it doesn’t work with most of our peripheral printers, scanners, CD/DVD drives; and it takes so long to start or stop (unless we do a costly hardware upgrade), that it is driving us crazy.”

There are lots of good things in Vista: multiple tagged browser pages; a whole new 3-D look and feel... but the canny Indian ‘janatha’ user hasn’t found it to be ‘paisa vasool’ and in any case XP still works fine.

As PCs become smaller, lighter, less power-hungry, what people want is a smaller, quicker PC software that lets you get on the Web — which today houses a lot of their tools and files — fast. Vista is not it.

“XP will die at the hands of a misguided killer: Microsoft,” said the Web magazine, ITWorld.com a few days ago — and many in the industry agree.

Over 140 million copies of Vista have been sold, says Microsoft; but analysts Forrester found in April that only half the enterprise world has planned an upgrade to Vista.

The entire Intel organisation (a key Microsoft partner) has decided to stick with XP. So what can the rest of us do? Microsoft has already announced that the next iteration after Vista will be Windows 7 — possibly in 2009. If we want to continue using XP on our machines, no one can really stop us. The canny Indian reseller and assembler community will find ways to support us, with or without Microsoft help. We can continue doing our computing, the XP way, till we see what Windows 7 offers, leapfrogging over Vista in the process.

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