Windows 7 Back By Popular Demand On HP's Website
January 21, 2014

Blast From The Past: HP Promoting Windows 7-Based PC Systems

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

The public’s somewhat tentative adoption of Windows 8 has spurred at least one US computer maker to once again begin promoting its predecessor, claiming that laptops and desktops featuring the older version of Microsoft’s operating system are “back by popular demand,” according to various media reports.

Palo Alto, California-based HP’s website is currently featuring a special on Windows 7-powered systems, offering discounts of up to $150 on custom PCs. Furthermore, clicking on the homepage link leads to a list of computers being marked between 13 percent and 20 percent off.

“The move is clearly designed to position Windows 7 over Microsoft’s touch-centric Windows 8 operating system,” said Tom Warren of The Verge, calling the wording of the promotion “a clear knock towards Windows 8 which has struggled with perception issues thanks to what some see as a confusing mix of desktop and tablet-style computing.”

“The fact that HP's website is now openly selling Windows 7 PCs to regular consumers, well over a year after the launch of Windows 8, may hint that the company thinks offering the older OS on some of its systems might be a better selection than Microsoft's newest software,” added Neowin’s John Callaham.

According to Callaham, HP currently appears to be the only US-based computer maker actively promoting systems running on Windows 7, stand-alone retail sales of which ended on October 30. While Acer, Dell and Lenovo allow customers to have the older version pre-installed on their computers, it is said to be somewhat hidden on their websites and typically focused to business clients, not home or home office users.

As for HP, Warren said that anyone browsing desktop PC models in HP’s home section will be “presented with Windows 7 machines by default as no Windows 8 PCs are listed until you start customizing the section using optional filters.” While Windows 8 devices are featured in the laptop section of the website, he noted that it “also prominently advertises a Windows 7 laptop.”

Since Microsoft no longer sells Windows 7 by itself, it might seem odd that companies such as HP can still use it on customized computers they sell. However, according to Charles Arthur of The Guardian, these companies can do so but would “almost certainly have to pay the same licensing price to Microsoft as it does for Windows 8.” Likewise, businesses that purchase Windows licenses can also “buy the right to ‘downgrade’ them to an earlier version such as Windows 7.”

PC sales fell by 10 percent last year, and Arthur said that the move is an attempt by HP to help improve the company’s own slumping sales. Global intelligence firm IDC told The Guardian that HP’s year-on-year PC sales dropped 12.3 percent in the last quarter, and the company has been toppled as the top PC maker by Lenovo – both of which, Arthur said, have apparently triggered the decision to promote Windows 7 system.