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Windows XP

• June 28, 2008 •

Windows XP: No Reprieve - Phasing-out Starts June 30

By: Arie Slob

Windows XP Microsoft is to stop selling Windows XP on June 30, but many people are confused on what that actually means. What will happen after that date is that Microsoft will no longer be supplying the retail chain with (shrink-wrapped) copies of Windows XP. It will also stop supplying XP to the OEMs (Dell, HP and other manufacturers).

This does not mean that you won't be able to buy a PC with Windows XP installed after that date. Stores and PC makers will have inventory that they sell, and smaller PC builders can continue selling computers with Windows XP till January 2009.

Then there are the "downgrade rights" you may be entitled to if you buy Windows Vista Business or Ultimate. Usually this applies to small business users, but if you buy your PC from a mayor OEM, you may be able to make use of this. You may see some journalists claiming that this is taking advantage of a "loophole" in Microsoft's licensing terms, but that's not the case. Downgrade rights have always been a part of Microsoft's licensing terms.

To further complicate matters, Microsoft will keep selling Windows XP Home for a group of computers known as ULCPC (Ultra Low Cost PCs). These computers have limited hardware capabilities and can use XP Home until June 2010. You can read more on Microsoft's ULCPC program on Microsoft's Web site.

When Microsoft made the announcement of XP's "end of sales," it also announced that it will continue supporting Windows XP until April 2014 - a full 13 years after Windows XP was first released. This means that Microsoft will provide security updates and "other critical updates" until that date. Normally Microsoft provides this support for 10 years, so Windows XP is getting an extra 3 years of support.

In making these announcements, Microsoft acknowledged that Windows Vista was not the easy Windows update customers had expected. In a letter posted on June 23, entitled "An Update on the Windows Roadmap," Bill Veghte, Senior Vice President, Online Services & Windows Business Group wrote: "The architectural changes that improved security and resilience in Windows Vista led to compatibility issues with existing hardware and applications. Many hardware drivers and applications needed to be updated, and while the majority worked well when we launched Windows Vista, some key applications and drivers were not yet available. Since then, Microsoft and its industry partners have been hard at work to address compatibility issues and now the situation is fundamentally different."

Vista has made significant progress since its initial release, but it also seems clear (even to Microsoft) that most businesses will opt not to install Windows Vista and wait for its successor (codenamed Windows 7) instead. Microsoft has been saying on several occasions in the past year to expect Vista's successor in 2010.

So what are your thoughts on Windows XP's 'retirement'?

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