Your questions: “Are computer manufacturers charging for “downgrades” to Windows XP?”

Mary asked yesterday morning…

“I read today that computer manufacturers will start charging customers who want to “downgrade” to Windows XP.  Is this true?”

While I can’t comment (and don’t specifically know) how each of our OEMs are handling downgrades to Windows XP from Vista Business and Ultimate (as I posted previously here), I haven’t seen any OEMs charging for downgrades to Windows XP from qualifying systems.  Mary provided a link to Darren Murph’s post on Engadget today: in it, Murph asserts that Dell will “invoke fees for “downgrading” to Windows XP”

“Just as promised, it has now bumped up the prices for folks wanting to stick with Windows XP Professional. As of now, the only way to get XP pre-installed is by selecting an option that also throws Vista in the box… getting XP Pro along with Vista Business will cost you $99 more than Vista Home alone, while having Vista Ultimate ride shotgun adds another $50.”

In the past, I think that the additional cost for customers to move their build-to-order system from Vista Home Basic to Vista Business was the same as it is now at Dell in the US — $99… with no premium to order the PC Vista Business ‘Bonus’ with Windows XP loaded. This is clear on Dell’s build-to-order page, as I found this morning…

Dell's BTO OS selection

According to Dell’s “Windows Vista vs. XP” page, Dell customers who buy “a new PC have an opportunity from Dell to buy a Dell PC with Windows XP Professional pre-installed and receive a Windows Vista installation disc.”

So, for now, it appears that ordering a system with Vista Business alone at Dell is the same price as asking to have it delivered with Windows XP installed along with a license for Vista Business. 

Dell's link to transition informationBut… Dell calls out on their site that this special is available for free from June 19 through July 7, the timeframe when customers can “purchase a Dell PC with Windows Vista Business Bonus for the same price as Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate Bonus for the same price as or Windows Vista Ultimate*.”

“This option is available through the purchase of Genuine Windows Vista Business BONUS or Genuine Windows Vista Ultimate BONUS. With either of the BONUS options, customers will be taking part in the Microsoft Windows Vista Downgrade Rights Service.”

The “*” indicates that “Pricing subject to change.” 

It’s not clear if Dell will charge for the service after July 7th.

We’ll see what happens on July 8th.

As a side note, Dell was also clear that XP support continues… 

“… customers who are currently operating XP, and wish to continue doing so, don’t have to take any action. Dell will continue to service PCs with Microsoft Windows XP.”

Tags: Microsoft, customer support, feedback, customer service, Windows XP, SP3, Windows Vista, Vista SP1.