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Windows XP Downgrade Extension : Bad Decision For Windows 7

Microsoft has announced that it allow companies to keep running Windows XP until 2020 through its downgrade rights policy; only Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate will be downgradable to Windows XP Professional.

This cannot be good news for the rest of the tech ecosystem as Microsoft's downgrade will provide companies with the excuse to stick to their existing infrastructure rather than spending and upgrading. It is in effect the technological equivalent of the Gulfstream and like the latter, disrupting it can have devastating effects.

Well given that 74 per cent of business computers still run on Windows XP, this could turn out to be a very, very big issue for companies that sell technology solutions for this category.

Netmarketshare reports that by end of June 2010, 62 per cent of computers worldwide were using Windows XP, down from 72 percent in August 2009. That would mean that around half of consumer PCs have another OS, possibly Vista or Windows 7 installed.

Consumer PCs historically have a much shorter lifespan while corporate units have a much higher one, in most cases around 50 months or more.

Should this be extended significantly (by 50 percent or more), it could have a very deep impact on the technological landscape and could cause a major rift.

For example promising technologies like USB 3.0 or Internet Explorer 9.0 could be limited to consumer segment; ditto for future versions of Microsoft Office and big drives.

Seagate has already confirmed to our sister website, Thinq (opens in new tab), that Windows XP has an upper limit of 3TB.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.