In the meantime, users will still be able to get PCs with XP installed, for a time. Customers who buy netbooks, for instance, will be able to get them with XP (instead of Windows 7) for six months after Windows 7 ships, a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail to InternetNews.com.
In addition, PC OEMs will be able to offer "downgrades" from either Windows 7 or Windows Vista to XP for the same six month period.
"This is not the first time that Microsoft has offered downgrade rights to a version other than its immediate predecessor and our Volume Licensing customers can always downgrade to any previous version of Windows," the e-mail continued.
However, according to recent reports, Microsoft gets far less -- as little as $15 per copy -- for XP on netbooks than it does for Windows on more full-function PCs, which is reportedly more in the neighborhood of $50 to $60 per copy.
Therefore, the company is going to offer Windows 7 Starter edition and Home Premium for netbooks, with the idea that netbook makers and their customers will switch to Windows 7 when it's available. Of course, if the price for Windows 7 editions drives up the cost of netbooks, it could drive customers to other operating systems, such as Linux. So as it has several times in the past, Microsoft may choose to rethink that cut off as it approaches.
Users have at least one reason to steer clear of XP, however -- mainstream support from Microsoft for the seven-year-old operating system ran out on April 14.
Meanwhile, Microsoft today also announced the final minimum system requirements for running Windows 7. That includes a 1 GHz or faster, 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) CPU, and 1 GB of RAM for 32-bit, or 2 GB of RAM for 64-bit versions. The computer will also require between 16 GB and 20 GB of disk space (depending on whether it is a 32-bit or 64-bit version) and a DirectX 9 graphics card with support for Windows Display Driver Model 1.0 or higher.
Microsoft has not yet committed to a date that Windows 7 will go on sale, although this week, at least one Microsoft executive was quoted as saying that it will likely ship in 2009. The company did not comment Thursday when PC OEM Acer said it will begin selling PCs with Windows 7 on October 23, 2009.
Article courtesy of InternetNews.com.