FAQ: XP deathwatch, T minus 2 weeks

Dell spells out 'downgrade' systems, XP Home's retail prices continue to fall

Dell, which was the first of the top OEMs to announce that it would rely on downgrade rights to continue selling XP-equipped PCs, has gotten very specific about what desktop and laptop models it will sell post-June 30.

On a new page in its Home & Home Office sales site, Dell said it would offer XP Pro as a downgrade on XPS 630, 720 H2C, and M1730 systems. That's it. "After June 18th, Windows XP will no longer be offered on currently available Inspiron laptops and desktops," said Dell on its site.

Dell's business PC lineup after June 30 isn't as clear, but from the company's Web site, it appears it will offer downgrades to XP Professional for models in the Vostro and Latitude notebook lines and the Vostro and OptiPlex desktop families.

Has there been any change in XP's retail price in the last two weeks? Yes. Of the three major online technology outlets -- Amazon.com, Buy.com and Newegg.com -- we started tracking several weeks ago, two dropped their prices while the third boosted its. eBay's average price also fell slightly.

Two weeks ago, Buy.com priced Windows XP Home OEM -- the least expensive version of the operating system, but also the one that comes with the most restrictions -- at US$100.24, shipping included. During the three days leading up to Monday, June 16, Buy.com listed the same SKU at $89.95, a price cut of 10.3 percent. Amazon.com, meanwhile, lowered its price by 0.5 percent., from US$95.15 to $94.68.

Newegg.com, on the other hand, raised its price by 6.3 percent. in the last two weeks, from US$79.99 to $84.99.

On eBay, the average lowest "Buy It Now" price, shipping included, for a legitimate copy of Windows XP Home OEM fell 2.2 percent. in the last two weeks.

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