No reprieve: XP phase-out begins June 30

Summary:XP petitioners: It's time to raise the white flag. After months of rumors that Microsoft might rethink its decision to pull the plug on Windows XP, the official word is out: XP is on its way out.

XP petitioners: It's time to raise the white flag.

After months of rumors that Microsoft might rethink its decision to pull the plug on Windows XP, the  official word is out: XP is on its way out.

Microsoft is sticking to its plan to cease providing PC makers with XP to preload on new PCs after June 30, as Microsoft is now letting customers know via a letter it has posted to its Windows XP and Windows Vista Web sites.

The June 23 letter, entitled "An Update on the Windows Roadmap," from Bill Veghte, Senior Vice President, Online Services & Windows Business Group, reiterated that PC makers won't be getting more copies of Windows XP to load on new machines after June 30, 2008. (There are two exceptions to this rule: "white box" system builders and makers of ultra-low-cost PCs are allowed to continue to preload XP through 2009 and 2010, repectively.)

Microsoft support for XP doesn’t end on June 30; free Microsoft-provided support for XP continues through April 2009. Microsoft “Extended” support — for which users must pay (other than for security-specific hot fixes and various self-help tools, which are free) — lasts through 2014.

There is no new information about the Windows roadmap in Veghte's letter. Veghte acknowledged that Vista -- especially in its initial release -- was not an easy Windows release for many customers to swallow. From his letter:

"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."

Windows 7 is coming three years after Windows XP's Vista's release, Veghte reminded users. (Microsoft officials have been saying lately on the record that the company is shooting for a late 2009 release for Windows 7.)

What's your take? Should Microsoft have extended XP's end-of-life date one more time? Or is the company right in not wanting to send mixed messages to the public about whether Vista is really (finally) ready for prime time?

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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