Windows XP pauses again in its shuffle out the door

Microsoft is making an accommodation through a flexible inventory program that will allow distributors to place their final orders by January 31, 2009 and take delivery against those orders through May 30, 2009.

This is not an extension of sales, according to the Microsoft spokesperson who issued the statement above. Semantics? Depends on where you reside in the food chain, but mainly, the decision is about giving the put-upon guys in the middle some breathing room.

Before this change of plans, the distributors had to order, receive and pay for their desired XP licenses by the end of next month, which meant that the distributors were trying to gauge demand from the system builders and get paid for it ahead of time. The distributors will still lean on the system builders to gauge demand, but they won't be coming around with their hands out -- surely a relief for those tiptoeing into 2009 economic realities.


The system builders, meanwhile, don't have to rush to get their XP machines out the door (which seems to be a universal relief -- happy holidays from Microsoft, maybe). As long as they square away their licenses before their distributors run of of them, everything's fine. And if a distributor were to have an extra XP license or two lying around after May, it seems pretty clear that it could be sold to a willing system builder.

This isn't the first rest stop on the move to Mohave, of course. Windows XP Home is still on offer for low-end laptops and desktops until 2010 -- not bad for a system that in theory was made obsolete two years ago.

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