Microsoft should keep Windows XP available until at least 2009, not end the majority of sales on June 30 as currently planned, said analysts at Gartner and The Burton Group.
"A good rule of thumb in any OS transition is that you have to have the original and new products available for at least two years to handle customer [migration] needs," said Richard Jones, a Burton Group vice president and service director.
But Microsoft gave customers just 11 months in its original plan, in which new XP licenses would have ended on Dec. 31, and even the additional six months that Microsoft granted when it changed the date to June 30 is not enough, he said.
"It would be wise for XP to be available until the end of 2008," concurred Michael Silver, a research vice president at Gartner. Even though Microsoft does a good job of addressing application compatibility, those efforts miss homegrown applications and applications from minor and defunct software companies. That's why a two-year transition period is more sensible, Silver said.
Why So Fast?
Jones said Microsoft may have pushed a too-aggressive transition schedule because of how long it took to release Vista, a delay that deprived it of new earnings. "Microsoft is up against a rock, with Vista coming out seven years after XP's release. But it's their fault it took seven years, not my fault," he said, adding that users should not be forced to rush their transition because of Microsoft's internal delays.