Keep Windows XP alive!

Microsoft says it's sticking to the June 30 deadline, but it also says it will listen to customers — so sign the Save XP petition now

The latest reports from Microsoft do not bode well for Windows XP. In advance of the June 30 deadline -- beyond which Microsoft said months ago that it would no longer license Windows XP through most sales channels -- senior vice president Bill Veghte confirmed that the company would halt shipment of boxed copies to retailers and cease licensing of XP to hardware vendors (with some exceptions) after the end of this month.

But at InfoWorld, where we've been running a Save Windows XP petition campaign since January 2 of this year, we figure a deadline is a deadline. You still have time to make your voice heard and convince Microsoft to see reason.

So far, we have gathered 209,324 signatures from passionate users who want Windows XP to survive. If we gather a million more over the next few days, can Microsoft truly ignore the plea? Especially after Steve Ballmer has pledged to listen to users about this issue?

From the beginning, the purpose of the Save Windows XP petition has been to demand that Microsoft offer users a choice: Those who want to license Windows XP should be able to continue to do so just as easily as they can license Windows Vista. Windows Vista's UI changes, software incompatibilities, new hardware requirements, and altered security business rules have caused widespread disruption among consumers and businesses. Many of us would prefer to avoid or postpone that disruption and spend our money and effort on more productive endeavors.

We recognize and appreciate that over the past several months Microsoft has decided to allow OEMs to continue to sell "low power" laptops and desktops with Windows XP pre-installed until 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 let vendors offer those options, as well as allow Vista Business or Vista Ultimate customers to "downgrade" Vista installs using site-licensed versions of Windows XP Professional.

But our sincerest wish remains that Microsoft will simply continue to offer Windows XP through all normal channels after June 30. If you sign the petition now -- and get everyone you know to sign it too -- we still have a fighting chance to preserve the best operating system Microsoft has ever produced.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.