PC MAKER HP has announced that it is dropping Windows 8 in favour of its predecessor, Windows 7.
Advertising on the HP website declares, "Windows 7 is back.... Due to popular demand." The claim is more than just a marketing statement. HP is now preloading most of its PCs with Windows 7 as standard, with Windows 8 having been relegated to an optional customisation.
The move is not unprecedented. When Windows Vista was panned by critics who thought it had been released too early, many OEMs began offering a downgrade to Windows XP after it became clear that despite a charm offensive by Microsoft, public perception was irreversibly against it.
Similar issues are dogging the company once again, with Windows 8 being criticised as a hybrid system that takes the worst from tablet and desktop computing. This broadly based rejection of Windows 8 has led Microsoft to accelerate the timeline for the release of Windows 9.
Meanwhile HP has decided that the popularity of Windows 7 is its best chance of encouraging more people to buy new computers in a declining market. With discounts of $150 for taking Windows 7, this appears to be more than a gimmick and a stand against the much maligned operating system.
This is not the first time that HP has spoken out against Microsoft. In December, HP executive Sridhar Solur said that the next generation of computers could very well not be dominated by Microsoft. He said, "Look at the business model difference between Intel and ARM. Look at the operating systems. In today's world, other than Microsoft there's no one else who charges for an operating system."
The PCs that HP is offering in the promotion are largely desktops, though there are a number of Windows 7 laptops prominently advertised too. Sales of Windows 7 have not ceased for individual purchase, and there is no rule that OEMs cannot continue to provide a Windows 7 option. However HP is the first of the top five PC makers to take a definite stand in favour of Windows 7 in the consumer market. µ