Last Friday, we FedEx'd the Save Windows XP petition to Steve Ballmer. I have to say that sliding the memory stick into the envelope was an emotional experience: Over 210,000 users have made their voices heard to the world's largest software corporation. I think there's still a slim chance that Microsoft will change its mind about making XP available after today, particularly if we get more major media pickup and another wave of signatures today. Meanwhile, here's the full text of the cover letter I sent along with the petition:
Chief Executive Officer
One Microsoft Way
Bellevue, WA 98052
On Jan. 2, 2008, InfoWorld launched the Save Windows XP campaign. As of June 27 at 2 p.m. Pacific Time, we have gathered 210,562 signatures from passionate users who demand the right to purchase Windows XP after June 30, the deadline beyond which Microsoft has said it will no longer license Windows XP through most sales channels. The Save Windows XP petition is enclosed as a CSV file.
We began this campaign because our readers compelled us to do so. Those of us who have been in the industry for a long time have never seen anything like the negative reaction to Windows Vista. Our readers have frequently voiced their frustrations about software incompatibilities, arbitrary UI changes, expanded hardware requirements, and altered security business rules. On the other hand, we've also heard from many users who are clearly satisfied with Vista.
Our point from the beginning has been that Microsoft customers should have a choice: For a reasonable period, those who want to license Windows XP should be able to continue to do so just as easily as they can license Windows Vista.
The typical interval from the introduction of a new version of Windows to the end-of-sale date for the previous version is two years. Given the disruptive nature of many Vista upgrades, we feel that Microsoft should continue to make Windows XP available for at least that long, rather than ending the sale of Windows XP after 18 months. Now that the ship date for Windows 7 has been moved up to January 2010, why not make Windows XP available until then?
We recognize and appreciate that during the past several months Microsoft has decided to allow OEMs to sell "low power" laptops and desktops with Windows XP pre-installed until June 2010. We are also aware that many hardware vendors, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Lenovo, are offering "downgrade" options that enable customers to replace preinstalled copies of Windows Vista with Windows XP. We hope that Microsoft will continue to enable vendors to present those options, as well as allow Vista Business or Vista Ultimate customers to "downgrade" Vista installs using site-licensed versions Windows XP Professional.
Our ultimate aim, however, is for Microsoft to reverse its decision and keep licensing Windows XP through all normal channels. At work and at home, Windows XP has become a familiar and reliable part of the lives of millions of users. We respectfully ask that you continue to offer the best operating system Microsoft has ever produced.
Editor in Chief