Microsoft has granted Hewlett Packard yet another extension on its long-in-the-tooth licence to supply new computers with the ability to 'downgrade' to Windows XP Pro, according to an Apple Insider report.
And Microsoft is continuing to clock up sales on the much-maligned Vista operating system, despite the fact that the first thing some users do is to replace it. This is because most new boxes come with Vista pre-installed on Microsoft's insistence, and XP is only offered as restore media.
But the most startling thing about the extension - news of which was apparently leaked by an HP insider - is that it will probably overlap with the release of Windows 7, which is wideley expected to reach release candidate status within months.
An internal document from HP, which was acquired by Apple Insider, reportedly says, "Microsoft will allow PC OEMs to structure similar downgrade OS SKUs for Win 7 Professional once available. No formal announcement has been made on the General Availability date for Win 7. However, you can anticipate that business desktops, notebooks and workstations will take advantage of this with the release of Win 7 in the October timeframe to allow our customers maximum headroom as they transition away from XP Pro OS. The Win 7 Professional to XP Pro downgrade OS will also discontinue on April 30th 2010."