If Microsoft isn’t listening to bloggers, what kind of example image does that set for other organisations?

I’m referring to the vast number of Microsoft’s Windows XP fans, who have voiced huge disappointment on blog posts and also started petitions to save the six–year–old operating system which is due to be pulled off the shelves in June. These users believe XP is far superior to Windows Vista, Microsoft’s latest PC operating system, they want it to remain.

Technology journalist Galen Gruman started a Save XP Web petition, and since January he has gathered more than 100,000 signatures and thousands of comments, mostly from die–hard XP users who want Microsoft to keep selling it until the next version of Windows is released, currently targeted for 2010.

The story on Bulldog Reporter‘s site mentions how on the petition site’s comments section, some users stated they would downgrade from Vista to XP — an option available in the past to businesses, but now open for the first time to consumers who buy Vista Ultimate or Business editions — if they need to buy a new computer after XP goes off the market. That surely sends a very clear message to Microsoft.

Microsoft has already extended the XP deadline once, but it shows no signs it will do so again. The company has declined to meet with Gruman to consider the petition. Microsoft is aware of the petition, and has said it "will continue to be guided by feedback we hear from partners and customers image about what makes sense based on their needs."

Does its actions prove this is the case, should it be doing more to demonstrate that it values their feedback? Do they have grounds for complaint? It seems to me their views are being ignored.

I still rely on using XP on my old laptop because I find it downloads YouTube video posts much better than Vista, which is on my new desktop, because for some reason I lose three-quarters of the picture by using Vista. I need to download some other software, but haven’t been able to do so. I wrote about my difficulties here.

Microsoft was one of the first organisations to use bloggers, and I remember reading they had 200 staff who were active bloggers, including Robert Scoble, who has been credited with helping to humanise Microsoft and shift its stance "from arrogant and aloof to one that is more inclusive and accepting of criticism". He has since left.

Is that how they are working now?

And if Microsoft isn’t listening and communicating with its customers, who is?