Windows XP Extended Through 2010

REDMOND, Wash. -- The Web was buzzing Monday following weekend reports that Microsoft will extend the life of its XP operating system through April 30, 2010. 

For those who haven't fallen in love with Window Vista or companies that continue to run computers on XP or XP Pro for budgetary reasons, this is good news, though MS still wants to see upgrades from users in the near-future.

Though Windows 7 is waiting in the wings, it appears Microsoft will keep the XP option available, though it will retire XP Pro mainstream support next Tuesday, April 14.

According to Hardocp, the company will only provide OS security updates beyond that date if a customer has an Extended Hotfix Support contract and all MS Extended Support for XP Pro will ends on April 8, 2014.

On Saturday, AppleInsider claimed a leaked Hewlett Packard memo said MS had authorized HP offering Windows XP as a "downgrade" from pre-installed Vista on new PCs, because, presumably, so many are still satisfied with the much-older OS.

Though nearly 8 years old, Windows XP has remained very popular among small- and mid-size companies, as well as individual users. Once computers are pre-loaded with Windows 7, a downgrade to other operating systems may be offered, but this has yet to be confirmed.

According to Computerworld Windows XP was "semi-retired" in June 2008, no longer sold at retail, and Windows XP Home was unavailable for use other than netbooks, while XP Professional was allowed as a Vista downgrade on remaining new machines sold. Because Windows Vista will not run on netbooks, Microsoft had no choice but to offer low-cost licenses for Windows XP to stave off competition.

While Microsoft has claimed Windows 7 is a completely new operating system, even its executives have stated otherwise. This includes CEO Steve Ballmer, who said, "Windows 7 is Windows Vista with cleanup in user interface and improvements in performance."

In an e-mail to Computerworld, a Microsoft spokeswoman said that based on consumer feedback, the company is "further broadening the options" to help "customers facilitate end user downgrade rights."

The company also denied any form of "extension" as per the leaked internal document.

"End user downgrade rights are a right in the end user license for Windows Vista Business and Ultimate products, and therefore remain in effect for the life of the product, so this change does not represent an extension," the MS spokeswoman said.

According to TGDaily a study from Net Applications indicates Windows XP still dominates globally as an OS, with a market share of nearly 63 percent compared with Vista's second place with 23 percent.