Dell has brought Windows XP back as an option on new PCs, following requests from users of its IdeaStorm web site.
Four models of Inspiron notebooks and two models of the Dimension desktop can now be bought from Dell with either Home or Pro versions of XP installed.
Dell, like other PC makers, essentially discontinued XP the moment that Vista became broadly available at the end of January.
Some reasons people want to be able to continue to buy XP boxes include the lack of Vista-compatible versions of some popular software packages, and the fact that a high-spec machine is required to fully exploit all of Vista’s new bells and whistles.
While Dell did not give a timeline for XP’s eventual retirement, the user who suggested bringing back XP had requested at least a year of XP after Vista’s release. As it happens, that would be January 31 2008, the same day Microsoft plans to stop selling XP to its OEMs
While Microsoft insists Vista is selling well, some 20 million licenses in the first month on the market, some say it’s not doing as well as had been hoped — especially when compared to the growth in sales of Apple’s Mac.
We can’t help but think that longtime buddies Dell and Microsoft risk a falling-out as a result of IdeaStorm. Dell’s first major action following IdeaStorm feedback was to announce it will start selling Linux desktops. Its second is to rain on Microsoft’s Vista parade by bringing back XP.
In fact, most of the most-popular suggestions on IdeaStorm involve in some way disadvantaging Microsoft, whether it be the myriad calls for Linux options, for OpenOffice to be the default productivity tool or for Firefox to be the default browser.
To adopt many more of these suggestions would surely drive a wedge between the two companies, although that would probably not be as frightening a prospect to Dell as it might have been in the pre-antitrust 1990s.