HP just can’t quit Windows 7

Poor Windows 8. Hewlett-Packard(s hpq) is promoting PCs running Windows 7 in a “back by popular demand” promotion on its website. Kudos to The Verge’s  Tom Warren for spotting and reporting on this noteworthy tidbit. Best Buy is also sending out emailed ads pointing to its own promotion.

For Microsoft this is bad news because it really, really wants folks to move along to its newer and more touchy-feely Windows 8, which launched in October 2012.  Windows 7 is, after all, four years old. Meanwhile,  HP — and some other constituencies want to know what the big rush is. (Windows 9 is reportedly on tap for a 2015 release.)

HP Windows 7 promo

As has been pointed out ad nauseum, Microsoft Windows is a victim of its own success. Various incarnations of the OS run hundreds of millions of desktops and laptops, but the percentage of those devices running Windows 8 is anyone’s guess, and WInodws 9 is rumored to be due next year. The venerable Windows XP, which launched in 2001 (!), will be “end of lifed” in April, sparking massive upgrades for tens of thousands of ATMs that run the OS as well as millions of PCs. But Microsoft is waffling even on that, recently saying it will provide malware updates for XP into July 2015.

The fact that HP, once one of Microsoft hardware BFFs, is so publicly touting an old version of Windows shows a further unraveling of that alliance. A cynic might suggest that HP is touting Windows 7 because its current hardware isn’t up to Windows 8 standards

HP was pretty badly burned by Microsoft’s decision to build its own Surface tablets  running Windows 8 , for example. Last fall, HP CEO Meg Whitman finally said aloud what many observers had known for years — that HP and Microsoft were as much competitors as partners. 

If you need proof of that, just check out this promotion.