That OEM edition comes with some caveats -- it cannot be transferred from one PC to another, and Microsoft will not provide free technical support over the phone -- but for someone who knows their way around a system, as LeBlanc assumed in his call for assistance, neither would be deal breakers.
Calls for Microsoft to offer a deal on Windows 7 or even Windows 8.1 have come from security experts, industry analysts and the company's customers.
"Microsoft needs to...release a very affordable, safe and easy to install XP replacement for older computers," said Computerworld reader BillyGTexas in a comment on a December news analysis piece about XP's pending retirement.
Others have argued that Microsoft should continue to support XP, but provide patches only to customers willing to pay for said support. Microsoft already has plans to do just that: It will continue to craft patches for Windows XP vulnerabilities rated "critical" and "important" after April for its "Custom Support" program, an after-retirement contract designed for very large customers who need more time to expunge the old OS. Custom Support costs about $200 per PC for the first year, and more each succeeding year.
"Those that want support for XP should pony up," suggested Jim_in_IT, another reader. "If everyone bands together and offers to pay Microsoft $50 a year per desktop you might be able to convince them to help. Get 1 million people signed up and I bet you can get their attention. Just don't expect free support forever."
Apparently, Microsoft has a different idea, as illustrated by LeBlanc's "help-us-help-you-help-them" plan. "We hope that this end of support page for Windows XP on Windows.com and all the resources there is helpful to you and can be something you can use to help your friends and family get off Windows XP," LeBlanc wrote today.
The end-of-support site LeBlanc mentioned can be found here.
Microsoft asked customers to help it do its job: Get people off the almost-retired Windows XP. There's a website with some tips, but no discount on an OS upgrade. (Image: Microsoft.)
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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