Microsoft is to offer enterprises running Windows 7 the opportunity to downgrade to Windows XP for at least another decade.
The announcement coincides with the end of support for XP SP2 tomorrow, making the move from Microsoft seem very strange indeed.
Brandon LeBlanc, Windows Communications Manager, said in a blog post that Windows 7 has a lot of customer traction, and that Microsoft already has over 90 per cent of the enterprise desktop market.
However, Windows 7 has a market share of just 14 per cent and, although a fast seller, has proved easy for enterprises to resist.
"Businesses should move full speed ahead with deploying Windows 7 today," said LeBlanc, adding that companies that had already upgraded will be allowed to downgrade to Windows XP for at least another 10 years.
Feedback from customers has revealed that the current situation is a challenge for enterprise PC administration, particularly when it comes to managing licences in a hybrid environment with PCs that have different end-user rights based on date of purchase, according to LeBlanc.
"Our business customers have told us that removing end-user downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional could be confusing, given that the rights change would be made for new PCs preinstalled with Windows 7," he said.
"Maintaining a more straightforward policy will help those customer segments that rely on downgrade rights as part of their migration planning, particularly in emerging markets and for customers who may not take advantage of our volume licence programmes."
Microsoft said that only organisations running Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate will be able to downgrade to Windows XP Professional. Prior to this announcement, downgrade rights would have ceased next year.
The news comes as Microsoft announced the end of support for Windows XP SP2 today. Most V3.co.uk readers, however, seem to have already migrated to SP3.
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