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Dell casts doubts on Vista

updated 03:55 pm EDT, Thu April 19, 2007

Dell Casts Doubts on Vista

Dell today revealed that it will restore the option to use Windows XP on some of its home systems, marking a potentially damaging blow to Microsoft's hopes for the newer Windows Vista. The Dimension E520 and E521 as well as virtually all of the company's Inspiron notebooks can immediately be custom-ordered with XP in Home or Professional editions, giving cautious buyers the opportunity to use the earlier OS. The change in policy was the result of user feedback, Dell claims.

While a popular request through the company's IdeaStorm website, the choice was substantially outnumbered by requests for pre-installed Linux, US-based technical support, and other features -- pointing to a larger general demand for the change. The turnaround may be a reflection of an overall backlash against Vista, observed IDC analyst Richard Shim.

"That there is remaining demand from some segment of consumer market points to the inability of Vista to resonate with consumers," he said. The researcher noted that the sales spike for Vista may have been buyers waiting to buy their normal PC upgrades rather than a genuine climb in interest.

Microsoft itself has pushed for a hasty end to the 2001 operating system and earlier hinted it would discontinue XP for pre-assembled systems by next year.

Dell was one of the most vocal early supporters of Vista, announcing before the software's January 30th launch that all its PCs would come preloaded with the Microsoft program from the outset. However, the company has been increasingly pressured into offering Windows XP for more and more of its PCs. The company was forced for some time to keep XP as an option for some of its high-end XPS gaming desktops and notebooks after NVIDIA driver flaws prevented the company from delivering reliable Vista systems.

The company has also contradicted itself as recently as this month, when it announced that some small business systems would offer the choice of the older version. At the time Dell contended that most of its buyers' "demand [was] for the 'latest and greatest,'" giving the system builder little reason to offer more than the newest OS as a choice for the home.

Neither Dell nor Microsoft was available for comment on Thursday. [via CNET]

by MacNN Staff




  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    repeat after me

    Ha. Ha. Ha.

  1. Zaren

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This is actually good news for Apple, because that means there's a lot less market penetration for Vista than MS wants us to beleve. There's more breathing room to get Leopard out now, since the "buy a new OS" pressure apparently doesn't exist.

  1. jhorvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It never did exist

    It never did exist as the beta clearly showed it wasn't ready for prime time yet they declared it golden master anyways. Clearly the 3rd party software vendors weren't ready. All handheld device makers are still struggling to get Vista versions out. Hardly any antivirus software for Vista either and much more. Apple shouldn't be worried one bit.

  1. howardhills779

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This will be a pretty hard thing for Microsoft to spin.

    They just can't get a break -- especially on the blogosphere. I was just reading Shelly Palmer's article ("Cracked Windows") about Microsoft's vulnerability to Google and the new web apps.

  1. petsounds

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: howardhills779

    Vulnerability? Microsoft is already fairly meaningless in the web2.0 sphere. This article by Paul Graham lays it out fairly well:

    This article, coupled with the news about Apple's Mac sales growth, says volumes about the erosion of Windows in consumer-land. Within a year, I believe that Apple will be up to 15% market share. Yes that seems overly optimistic, but I believe Mac sales growth will start to accelerate exponentially, especially the release of the iPhone and Leopard.

  1. que_ball

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Give them what they want

    Dell is a custom manufacturer.

    Once they stood back for a second and realized that they don't really make money on the operating system it's a no brainer to just give the customer what they want. Their manufacturing process is already setup for Windows XP, support is there, drivers, etc.

    If someone wants to buy your product then you should make it easy for them to choose you. It's not like they are reversing their Vista support, everyone who wants that will get it. Microsoft may even make more money in the end because now they sell a Windows license with a higher likelyhood of an upgrade sale sooner. Some day Vista will be a mature OS and some day programs will be available that require it.

    These same concerns were present for every major new version of Windows that came out after Windows 98. Devices, software, etc require upgrades to work and there is no real widespread need for the new features yet so the older version is seen by some as the wiser choice until the platform gains some maturity.

    Now to compare the situation to Apple is a bit complicated. The OS X upgrades from one major version to the next have not been making big changes that impact large amounts of software that were designed for the previous version. The degree of changes is similar but still less dramatic to the OS 9 to OS X transition. In terms of transition complexity I feel that on the high end of the scale of change is the transition from OS 9 to OS X. Transitioning from Windows XP to Vista in the middle and going from OS 10.2->10.3->10.4 transition at the lower end of this imaginary scale of complexity.

    So rambling on what do I think this means for Apple and Macintosh? Not much, but it's possible it's even negative. Someone might stick with a PC if they can get the old OS instead of evaluate the choice to switch if they were faced with the large software upgrades required to use Vista if you had a collection of older unsupported software.

  1. zl9600

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You could be right, you might be wrong about the effect on Apple, but overall what a thoughtful, intelligent post.

  1. lauwersp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I know...

    Let's all go to their Ideastorm website and request they offer us Windows 95 as an option!!!!

  1. ryanjo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Dell Customers

    I recently was forced to buy several Dells (for business use as glorified typewriters, not productivity!). I was forced to "downgrade" them myself to Win XP Pro from preinstalled Vista on the Dell Dimension E521 & E520, their most affordable computers. At that time I asked my "account rep" if I could get XP Pro custom installed, instead of Vista--I was told "not at the discounted bundle price". So I assume that Microsoft is giving Dell an incentive to push out discounted units with Vista in order to gro the Vista installed base. My only consolation is having a few unused copies of Vista to use with Parallels...

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: dell customers

    I recently was forced to buy several Dells (for business use as glorified typewriters, not productivity!).

    Uh, so typing is not productive? What are your people typing and why is your company so intent on getting them computers to perform non-productive tasks?

    And if they are just glorified typewriters, what about Vista forced you to reinstall XP?

    And for non-productive glorified typing use, would you have suggested macs and OS X instead?

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