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Windows XP Downgrade Costs $21 More Than New Copy of Leopard

Since the introduction of Windows Vista, Dell has been offering a downgrade option to Windows XP for its customers. The deadline for the downgrade option has been extended twice, and at this point costs more than a brand new copy of OS X Leopard.

Tgdaily points out that the Windows XP downgrade option is listed on Dell’s website with the Inspiron 1525 notebook and 530 desktops with a $150 price-tag. Dell however, did not hike up the downgrade option pricing on its Vostro desktops and notebooks. The price for the XP downgrade on those was raised in October and remains at $99.

Analysts are unable to determine whether this shows a declining or increasing demand for the operating system. Some believe that netbook demand (sub-$500, Linux based notebook) has taken the load off of downgraded PC options with Windows XP. According to Devil Mountain Software, a market research firm that collects “real-world” metrics from Windows computers, nearly one third (35%) of PC users that purchased a PC between February and August 2008, downgraded to Windows XP from Windows Vista.

Perhaps most interesting is that Apple sells brand new versions of Mac OS X Leopard for $129 (single user – family pack is $199). If you’re in a tax-free state like Oregon, that’s exactly $21 less than Dell’s Windows XP downgrade option. And even with all of the negative press surrounding Microsoft and its less-than-capable operating system, Dell continues to ship machines with Vista pre-installed, while charging customers for a Windows XP downgrade.

Microsoft is promising a lot with Windows 7, and the industry is waiting anxiously for anything to move it along after Vista. They are keeping strong with the focus of being fully compatible with as many existing device drivers, applications, and hardware configurations as possible. Unfortunately, early developer builds and statements from Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer himself lead us to believe Windows 7 may just be more of the same.

As Apple remains focused on delivering an increasingly refined version of OS X with Snow Leopard, healthy competition between the two operating systems has been rather difficult given Vista’s failures. For the sake of the industry, let’s hope Microsoft delivers something heavy with Windows 7.

Comments [18]

18 Comments to “Windows XP Downgrade Costs $21 More Than New Copy of Leopard”

MOokie @ December 9th, 2008 at 3:33 pm
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Typical…As if its not bad enough that your buying a machine with an inferior OS, but then you actually need to pay to downgrade. Welcome to the bizarro world of Microsoft.

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yuryu45 @ December 9th, 2008 at 4:12 pm
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hahahahah…. microsoft is pushing vista harder than they ever have. mojave baby !

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jojo22 @ December 9th, 2008 at 4:29 pm
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this is sick. think about this for a second, please everyone… please. THIS IS SICK !!! $150 FOR A DOWNGRADE FROM VISTA TO XP ?!?!?!?! WOW !!! I mean, come on ! This infuriates me to no end.

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keyword @ December 9th, 2008 at 5:12 pm
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ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous

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Jean @ December 10th, 2008 at 8:06 am
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Linux: 0$

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Chowlb @ December 10th, 2008 at 8:06 am
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Well… some call it a downgrade. I would consider this an upgrade.

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jASON bOURNE @ December 10th, 2008 at 8:08 am
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LOL, pretty funyn when you think about it, isnt it! What a joke.

jess
http://www.internet-anonymity.net.tc

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mooncricket42 @ December 10th, 2008 at 8:08 am
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$129 for Leopard..$2000 for the hardware.. Versus $150 for XP and $900 for similar hardware. XP IS SO EXPENSIVE ZOMG.

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Jake @ December 10th, 2008 at 8:10 am
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Yeah, it is stupid… Or brilliant… I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a downgrade. Sure Xp is older, but it is better than Vista is. Getting people to pay that much for that OS kind of rough, but since I wont need to purchase another copy of XP it isn’t much of a problem.

Apple has it’s own form of end user exploitation though. People who want Snow Leopard are going to pay for a “new Operating System” when all it really is, is a service pack update. Not to mention and Apple Laptop costs about an extra $800.00 compared to an entry level PC… All computer and software companies do sketchy things, just not all the same sketchy things.

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batty @ December 10th, 2008 at 8:28 am
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You are comparing apples and oranges. Yes, Apple computers are a bit more expensive…and they require fewer hours to maintain, they boot and wake from sleep quickly and they have all the software the average human needs + great ‘life memory’ software.

The question you should be asking is “what is my time worth?” I’ll bet a Windows machine requires an average three hours a month more in maintenance (just think of that weekend long XP rebuild, or visiting relatives for the annual holiday help-desk ritual) and boot time (3-10 minutes just to wake up???) than a similar Mac. If you own your computer for three years that is equal to 36×3 or 108 hours. @Jake said Apple is a $800 premium. Are you worth $7.41 an hour? My time is worth more than that.

Finally, Apple never said they were an economy machine. They build quality product and charge appropriately for it. Think of it as an affordable Porsche. Porsche does not have huge market share but they build great product and they don’t want a majority market share. They leave that to GM and Toyota.

Yeah, I am an Apple guy – but I have my reasons.

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wikiman @ December 10th, 2008 at 9:03 am
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“they require fewer hours to maintain” [citation needed]
“just think of that weekend long XP rebuild” [citation needed]
“3-10 minutes just to wake up” [citation needed]

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Sam @ December 10th, 2008 at 8:44 am
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@batty

This is not a troll post.

To be fair, your information is extremely exaggerated. Having just timed wakeup times on my Macbook Pro, and my Inferior Asus model laptop, there is no wakeup disparity (both computers require a new login to get to the desktop, so this is a non-issue).

In terms of booting, the MBP actually takes longer than my Windows XP to boot.

Also to be fair to the Maccies, the price disparity grows as you get to the upper range (MBP’s incur approximately $500 more, not the $800 stated), but as you get to the lower models, the price differences becomes less noticeable (around $200).

Also, in fairness, I’ve never had to rebuild my Windows XP, and my MBP had far from the load of software I wanted or cared for. For my average use, I needed OpenOffice, Adium, Skype, Firefox, even XCode had to be retrieved from the CD (though this isn’t part of an average user load).

Other software I needed? A basic image editor (GimpShop).

I’ve also found that though MBPs tend to be pretty efficient to managing the resources it has, it is pretty darn inefficient at allocating those resources in the first place. Mac apps generally use twice the RAM as equivalent PC apps. I found that the sweet spot for my non-64 bit compliant Mac was 3GB (the max possible being 4GB with any OS X build, yes, even the 64-bit compatible ones as the OS doesn’t use anything over the 4GB wall).

Just some technical insight here, and some corrections.

As to the cars, to be fair, Porsche DID come out with the Boxster………

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Jared Eldredge @ December 10th, 2008 at 10:50 am
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@sam

first off, i hate both macosx and windows. i take it personally. i’m a computer engineer by trade (albeit i design hardware, not software) and the fact that FOSS such as linux can compete so well with commercial operations is absurd. add to it none of these 3 major OS’s can hold a candle to the defunct and commercially dead BeOS and you’ll start to see why i sit and ponder, “how can any of these companies claim to be innovating at all”?

yeah – off topic to start with but i’ll get back to the topic. i wanted to toss that out there first: not so much as flame-bait but to highlight that my views on windows vs. macosx are not significantly biased, “i am not an apple fanboy” may be the simple way to state it, though hardly believable as a standalone sentence.

so, on to my reply:
” Having just timed wakeup times on my Macbook Pro, and my Inferior Asus model laptop, there is no wakeup disparity (both computers require a new login to get to the desktop, so this is a non-issue).”

perhaps the intel macs lost this major advantage? i’m still running a 5 year old powerbook g4, and i can with absolute certainty that my wake-up times are less than 1/10 of those on brand new windows vista laptops. windows xp was not known for good sleep/hibernate functionality (slow, failure prone) but i’ll admit 2 inconsistencies in my comparison: 1. 5 year old mac vs. brand new vista boxes (i’ve got 3 to compare with, lenovo, dell, toshiba); and 2. i don’t require user authentication for wake-from sleep on my mac. the vista boxes all default to this (can it be turned off?). typically i wake from sleep, launch X11, and am logged into my remote server from my mac before the vista boxes have even figured out how to display the login prompt.

-> wake from sleep in windows is rubbish. macosx? maybe on intel it’s rubbish there too.

“In terms of booting, the MBP actually takes longer than my Windows XP to boot.”
what world do you live in? i’ve never seen a winxp box take less than a minute to boot, and i’ve never seen any macosx take more than 1 minute. that’s a fundamental difference between the micro kernel OS’s and monolithic kernel OS’s (linux, for example, is a HOG when booting – it suffers the same fundamental design flaw as windows 95 through vista) BeOS, by the way, booted in 15 seconds on most any pc capable of running it, regardless of cpu speed, etc. why? microkernel. microkernels have a bad rap from old-hat software devs because they are inherently less efficient (message passing vs. shared memories) but this limitation only applies when running a single threaded, non-interrupted app. booting? 99% of the REQUIRED wait states are from hard drive access times. the rest? lets just say, efficient use of the harddrive would bring all OS’s to about a 15 second boot time on a standard harddrive. solid state could improve too.

-> try your comparison again, i’d bet $20 windows takes at least 20 seconds or 2x longer to boot, whichever is LARGER.

“Also to be fair to the Maccies, the price disparity grows as you get to the upper range…”

800, 500, 200, i don’t personally care. i am still unhappy with macosx as well as vista — so charge me $1000 extra and sell me something that doesn’t suck – then i’ll be happy.

looking back at the article’s title, they’re basically saying that macosx leopard is inexpensive – then using this to insinuate (claim?) that the xp downgrade is over priced. maybe we should assume that some of the upgrade-path-price is built into the initial sale on a mac? you buy 1.5 licenses on the first day, so later the final upgrade cost appears cheaper to you? i don’t know. i don’t really care. cost isn’t the issue (not that i’m rich, remember my own machine is a 5 year old powerbook) but rather what you get for that cost.

-> if macs were/are any better then they should charge more for them – i’m willing to pay for what i want to get. i’m not convinced this is the case, but if windows were better i’d be willing to pay a premium for the OS… that’s not likely the case either from where i’m standing: they both suck.

“Also, in fairness, I’ve never had to rebuild my Windows XP, and my MBP had far from the load of software I wanted or cared for. …”

if you haven’t had to reinstall windows from scratch, then, well… you must be awful patient or perhaps absurdly good at spotting crap software before you install it. macs are no easier to clean up after corruption, at least for the typical users. it’s mostly possible with both OSs to fix issues without a reinstall – though at some point they both need a fresh install to get back to that nice day-one-feel.

software? half the stuff that came on my mac i’ll never touch. garage band? yeah, if i had an musical talents i wouldn’t cut it as an engineer (that’s a joke: it’s funny cuz its true). regardless, the software bundled on a mac is of a distinctly, perhaps measurably, better quality and functionality than that bundled on a windows pc. trialware? seriously? still?!?!? most windows users would be better off with a clean install on day one – format and rid yourself of the crap installed by dell, lenovo, toshiba, whomever — the same crap that will beg for money after 30 – 90 days.

now – software AVILABILITY, that’s an arguable point. and arguably there’s more available for windows. is this a ‘feature’ of windows? not in my mind. either you can, or you can’t, get you software of choice for you os of choice. period. what sucks is when your software of choice is locked to other-than your os of choice. i feel that pain all the time: there’s pretty much NO commercial software available for BeOS (that, if it wasn’t clear an hour ago when you started reading my post, is my OS of choice, still. but i don’t run it. because i have to get my work done…)

-> software? it’s a moot point. if you use what apple gives you, be happy it came with the product. on windows, you get nothing worth keeping at all.

“…Mac apps generally use twice the RAM as equivalent PC apps. I found that the sweet spot for my non-64 bit compliant Mac was 3GB (the max possible being 4GB with any OS X build, yes, even the 64-bit compatible ones as the OS doesn’t use anything over the 4GB wall).”

if your ram isn’t 100% utilized, it’s wasted. whether your OS or your apps are over consuming ram – i don’t know. i don’t have any one-to-one comparison to make – i don’t run the same software on PCs and macs. i CAN say that there is a huge performance penalty when vendors stop targeting your particular CPU type: FLASH is completely unusable on my mac. why? not ram, or OS, but Adobe started writing code in a manner that is intolerably non-optimized on a RISC processor. this is the main reason i’m looking for a new notebook, buts thats another story (i miss hulu!).

oh, and 64-bit compatible OS’s CANT EVER address over 4GB of ram on 32-bit hardware. at least not while the hardware needs to address into that memory with 8-bit granularity. 2^32 = 4 billion (well, thats the plain english approximation anyway). 4 billion bytes = 4 GB. that’s it. the hardware is designed to address each byte uniquely, and your maximum size of an address is 32 bits (i.e. 2^32). you could have a 256-bit OS on 32-bit hardware and still only see the bottom 4GB of ram installed. there are some hacks for older 32-bit machines, but they were custom hacks for expensive servers. along the lines of switching, programmatically, between one bank of 4GB and another. there were performance penalties, cost penalties, power penalties…. in short, it was faster, cheaper and more efficient to just re-engineer the cpu and supporting logic to support 64-bit wide addresses (and therefore 64-bit wide representations of ANY data).

-> ram is cheap. buy more. got a limitation on how much ram will fir in the box? thats a hardware issue and outside the scope of this discussion, but if you can cram in 4GB the hardware is at it’s functional limit and there’s no better ‘version’ for windows OR macosx.

“As to the cars, to be fair, Porsche DID come out with the Boxster………”

does it say anything that i drive an Insight? that’s the honda hybrid that was first to ship in the USA (actual retail availability was before the prius, at least in new england). i bought mine Q1-2001. call me an early adopter, a sucker, a hippie — but i think there’s more of a similarity between macosx and my hybrid than there is between the mac and a porsche.

as neil stevenson once put it (http://www.cryptonomicon.com/beginning.html):
“… There was a competing bicycle dealership next door (Apple) that one day began selling motorized vehicles–expensive but attractively styled cars with their innards hermetically sealed, so that how they worked was something of a mystery.”

“…Eventually the big dealership came out with a full-fledged car: a colossal station wagon (Windows 95). It had all the aesthetic appeal of a Soviet worker housing block, it leaked oil and blew gaskets, and it was an enormous success. A little later, they also came out with a hulking off-road vehicle intended for industrial users (Windows NT) which was no more beautiful than the station wagon, and only a little more reliable.”

“… One of them (Be, Inc.) is selling fully operational Batmobiles (the BeOS). They are more beautiful and stylish even than the Euro-sedans, better designed, more technologically advanced, and at least as reliable as anything else on the market–and yet cheaper than the others.”

-> car analogies are fun. i miss beos. part of me is seriously tickled to see BeOS described with such glory. then i get mad, because Be, Inc. failed to make money and stay in business…. ahhh memories…..

ok, i’ve procrastinated long enough. back to work i go…

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Sam @ December 10th, 2008 at 11:15 am
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Thanks for your response.

Clearly, you have a good understanding of Micro-Kernel architecture vs Monolithic architectures, but you are also clearly speculating on a lot of things that I’ve actually tested (hey, it’s a day off, what’s a guy to do but run some benchmarks).

But I’m not going to get into a chest-thumping match with you. I’m an electrical engineer by trade, educated as both an electrical engineer and computer engineer. I understand a lot of the concerns that you raise. Neither of us really have true access to completely clean testing conditions, so let’s leave it at that. Both of us are engineers, and as engineers, I hope we can agree that theory and product have a large chasm separating them.

As to a few small points, my Macbook is a new model, supposedly 64-bit capable. The hardware is 64-bit, the memory controller is 64-bit, that’s all fine and dandy, so that’s not the problem. I suspect a problem with Leopard (the fact that I do not have the Server version), or it’s something that’s expected to be a feature of Snow Leopard.

So as a disclaimer, I’m an engineer, not a typical user. As a result, my main concern is utility to get my job or my other projects done, and not brand loyalty. I hope we can also agree that the reason for such rampant fanboyism with the Apple company does have some merit to it, and I also hope we can agree that liking a company so much, we must still be careful with future actions with concern.

Just because a company did something right once doesn’t mean they will always be that way.

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Arnaldo Capó @ December 10th, 2008 at 11:21 am
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hmm… check that you are not running a PPC and trim you’re apps

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Simon @ December 10th, 2008 at 9:29 am
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I’m surprised on-one’s pointed out yet that $129 *isn’t* the cost of a full version of OS X Leopard; it’s the cost of an *upgrade* copy of OS X Leopard. There’s no such thing as a “non-upgrade” copy of Leopard. Apple doesn’t sell them, and likely never will. (Yes, you can do a clean install with a Leopard CD. So? You can do a clean install with an XP upgrade CD, as long as you can prove you own a previous copy of WIndows by inserting the CD. Since you can only ever install Leopard on a Mac, which by definition came with a copy of Mac OS, it’s an upgrade).

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Arnaldo Capó @ December 10th, 2008 at 11:18 am
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Ok, 1st of all!! WTFFFFFFFFF!!! $99?? Microsoft really knows how to really make it worse!! There’s always people talking about linux $0. Dude Linux does not compare to the power of Leopard in terms of commercial apps. Linux does not runs Logic, Final Cut, CS3, Linux is not ready so people with the Linux stuff, shhhhhhhhh. I use linux only as a server! If you really want to be @ the top of technology, you need a mac period

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Jared Eldredge @ December 10th, 2008 at 11:41 am
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“but you are also clearly speculating on a lot of things that I’ve actually tested ”
- fair enough – though the discrepancy in wake-up times makes me wonder how our views can be so vastly different.

“as engineers, I hope we can agree that theory and product have a large chasm separating them.”
- **nod**

“The hardware is 64-bit, the memory controller is 64-bit, that’s all fine and dandy, so that’s not the problem.”
- i suppose, if you still have the extra ram, a simple test would be booting from a linux live cd and watching how it interprets the ram. i’m still thinking it’s a hardware issue, even if it’s not related to the address width. still, the fault would lay on apple’s shoulders. i know less about the newest memory architectures than i do about DDR (you know, way way back on the first iteration of ddr, seems like weeks ago, but i just checked, it’s the stuff in my 5 year old powerbook). at least back in those days the memory controllers had issues with density; where a 64×8 might not work, a 32×16 would.

this may no longer be applicable — i’m still designing for DDR at 333MHz over here…

“we can also agree that the reason for such rampant fanboyism with the Apple company does have some merit to it, and I also hope we can agree that liking a company so much, we must still be careful with future actions with concern.”
- sure. not to be argumentative, but i don’t necessarily agree on this point: however it’s irrelevant whether i do or not.

nice to see another engineer’s perspective. i hope you find a solution to add more ram to your machine. now, i don’t have a day off (you lucky bastard) so sadly i’m off to work another few hours…

take care sam.

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