In this issue:
Windows XP: No Reprieve - Phasing-out Starts June 30
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
Microsoft is to stop selling Windows XP on June 30, but many people are confused on what that actually means. What will happen after that date is that Microsoft will no longer be supplying the retail chain with (shrink-wrapped) copies of Windows XP. It will also stop supplying XP to the OEMs (Dell, HP and other manufacturers).
This does not mean that you won't be able to buy a PC with Windows XP installed after that date. Stores and PC makers will have inventory that they sell, and smaller PC builders can continue selling computers with Windows XP till January 2009.
Then there are the "downgrade rights" you may be entitled to if you buy Windows Vista Business or Ultimate. Usually this applies to small business users, but if you buy your PC from a mayor OEM, you may be able to make use of this. You may see some journalists claiming that this is taking advantage of a "loophole" in Microsoft's licensing terms, but that's not the case. Downgrade rights have always been a part of Microsoft's licensing terms.
To further complicate matters, Microsoft will keep selling Windows XP Home for a group of computers known as ULCPC (Ultra Low Cost PCs). These computers have limited hardware capabilities and can use XP Home until June 2010. You can read more on Microsoft's ULCPC program on Microsoft's Web site.
When Microsoft made the announcement of XP's "end of sales," it also announced that it will continue supporting Windows XP until April 2014 - a full 13 years after Windows XP was first released. This means that Microsoft will provide security updates and "other critical updates" until that date. Normally Microsoft provides this support for 10 years, so Windows XP is getting an extra 3 years of support.
In making these announcements, Microsoft acknowledged that Windows Vista was not the easy Windows update customers had expected. In a letter posted on June 23, entitled "An Update on the Windows Roadmap," Bill Veghte, Senior Vice President, Online Services & Windows Business Group wrote: "The architectural changes that improved security and resilience in Windows Vista led to compatibility issues with existing hardware and applications. Many hardware drivers and applications needed to be updated, and while the majority worked well when we launched Windows Vista, some key applications and drivers were not yet available. Since then, Microsoft and its industry partners have been hard at work to address compatibility issues and now the situation is fundamentally different."
Vista has made significant progress since its initial release, but it also seems clear (even to Microsoft) that most businesses will opt not to install Windows Vista and wait for its successor (codenamed Windows 7) instead. Microsoft has been saying on several occasions in the past year to expect Vista's successor in 2010.
So what are your thoughts on Windows XP's 'retirement'?
Bill Gates Retires from Microsoft
It has happened: this week Bill Gates has ended his full-time employment at Microsoft. The co-founder of Microsoft will not retire from the company completely: he will continue advising Microsoft in a part-time capacity, and will stay on the company's board as chairman.
Gates, 52, is leaving with the legacy of having created and shaped one of the world's most influential corporations. He founded Microsoft back in 1975 together with Paul Allen and while some of Microsoft's business practices have been sharply criticized, there is no denying that, as head of the company, Gates has done more than anyone else to bring computing to the masses.
Bill Gates job at Microsoft has been taken over by three people: Steve Ballmer as CEO, Ray Ozzie as chief software architect, and Craig Mundie as chief research and strategy officer. We will have to wait and see how Microsoft will perform in the years ahead without Gates at the helm.
Meanwhile Bill Gates plans to devote his time to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which he and his wife founded in 1994 to "help reduce inequities in the United States and around the world," according to the organization's Web site.
The Seattle-based organization, the largest charity of its kind, has asset trust endowments of $37.3 billion and has committed to grants of $16.5 billion during its 14 years. In 2007 it made grants of just over $2B. In 2005 Time magazine named Bill and Melinda Gates as its Persons of the Year for their charitable work.
The foundation was bolstered still further in 2006 when businessman Warren Buffet -- who passed Gates as the world's richest man -- endowed the foundation with more than $3 billion, as part of an ongoing plan to give away at 85 per cent of his fortune, currently estimated at $62 billion.
In an interview earlier this week Gates put his new role in perspective with these words: "This whole thing about which operating system somebody uses is a pretty silly thing versus issues involving starvation or death." One can only salute him for that, and wish him all the best in his new role of improving the lives of many more around the world.