No reprieve: XP phase-out begins June 30

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


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Story Error!

    "Windows 7 is coming three years after Windows XP?s release, Veghte reminded users."

    That should be:

    Windows 7 is coming three years after Windows Vista's release, Veghte reminded users.
    • thanks. fixed

      Thanks for the correction. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
    • It's official : Shareholders are of greater importance than consumers

      • Of course they are

        But if you screw your customers, eventually you screw the shareholders as well, as Microsoft is slowly going to learn.
      • Not necessarily ...

        If MOST MS consumers said they wanted XP instead of Vista, XP would not go away but the fact is that most consumers are either happy to move to Vista or they simply don't care.

        Enterprise customers are also willing to move to Vista but they will do so only when it makes sense financially. So what's new?

        Customers do call the shots but when the number of customers who want XP falls below a certain threshold, it costs MS more to maintain XP than it is worth. MS did the right thing.
        M Wagner
        • Unlikely

          When we hear constant testimonials from Vista customers and computer shop owners describing the booming business of replacing Vista with XP or Linux on the systems of those who try it.

          Rather, Microsoft has decided that the only way to force consumption of Vista is to demand that OEM distributors cease providing XP and seek to foist Vista onto the public.
          • Downgrades

            How does this affect Vista downgrades to XP? If I can still downgrade to XP it's fine with me.
          • Downgrades

            I totally agree.

            The problem for me with Vista is the amount of changes to the operational state when used through a Domain with Group Policy.
            Vista has proved to be brilliant as a home machine especially when using it in Media Centre mode.

            As far as Vista goes in the work place I will not implement it. I will buy new hardware with it if thats what I need to do, but I will continue with the XP downgrade process.
          • Lack of understanding of this is staggering

            If you buy a VISTA machine, you are stuck with the fritz-chip motherboard (Google: Intel vPro White Paper) which can turn your PC ON in the middle of the night and re-install remote control-ware (in case you disabled it), let the OS (Vista or XP SP3) do it's dirty work ("inventory" your OS, apps, & files, disable apps, delete files) then sneak away, restoring your PC to its prior state (off, hibernate, etc.) so you don't notice, except the next time you bring up an app, it tells you - "these features are no longer supported on this old version - wouldn't you like to buy this again, in our new version?" and maybe some files missing if you stopped paying "rent" on a Windows 7 application that created them.

            Snoop&Poop in your PC is what Vista-ready hardware, Vista, and XP SP3 are designed to do (in addition to killing off freeware of course - NOTHING will run without first paying M$ "permission" money (like mafia "protection") - so bye-bye freeware.

            If you run XP on top of Vista (which is the way I think this "downgrade" business works) you solve nothing - you still have the Snoop&Poop-ware (hardware & underlying OS - or SP3) working against you.

            M$ CEO's are behaving like criminal thugs, make no mistake about it. You have 5 days left to protect yourself with a retail copy of XP SP2 Home (if you can get it) and being sure you have a non-fritz-chip motherboard (if you can get it - and if you have a custom-built PC and not a Dell or HP (HP has proprietary motherboards).
          • I reviewed the white paper.....

            It's amazing.

            It's meant for the IT management, but really, it's just another open door for someone who knows how to gain access - especially an OS provider.
          • Mother of God!

            That's horrendous.

            My next computer will be a Mac.
          • The same people that brought ...

            ... you vPro also are the guts of the Mac. So what makes you think the switch matters?
          • Exactly, Cardhu!

            This is yet another of Ballmer's stupidly arrogant mistakes - and if it wasn't going to hurt a LOT of endusers first, I'd laugh my ass off at how [i][b]completely[/b][/i] it's going to destroy Mr. Chair-Throwing Bully's company.
          • I hope you're right

            Sadly though, most users simply are not smart enough, or aware enough of what Ballmer's TRUE goals are and what he's REALLY doing under the hood, to know when to jump ship and just say NO.

            They are doing exactly what Ballmer expects. His goal is to get Vista (or at least SP3 & Windows LIVE items) on so many PCs that it's too late for most people to turn back when he finally starts USING the Snoop&Poop technology that he has embedded/hidden in "their" PC's to take over control of them.
          • But we are not hearing ...

            ... "constant testimonials".

            Out of 188 million Vista licenses, the VAST MAJORITY of which are are sold by OEMs to consumers, a very, very small percentage are downgrading to XP and those are mostly either enterprise customers who are not ready to switch 'en masse' because of some mission-critical need to wait or specialty users who JUST DON"T LIKE VISTA.

            If MS were losing money or making a large percentage of customers unhappy, they would not pull XP. The fact is that Vista is making them money, not costing them money.
            M Wagner
          • Out of 188 million Vista licenses

            I'd be willing to bet that at least 80% of that is Home Basic/Premium, which DOESN'T qualify for the downgrade option. Meaning, like me, they are screwed! With no vista drivers for the perfectly good 4yr old scanner and 3yr old printer, those too must now be replaced!
          • make a note to yourself

            My 8 year old canon s750 has it's drivers in the box. If the manufacturer of your 3yr old printer couldn't be bothered to support you, you need to replace your printer with a model by a manufacturer that respects you.

            This isn't Vista's fault.

            Care to out the manufacturers that boned you?
          • Why is Micrsoft (or Vista) at fault ...

            ... because your scanner vendor has not created Vista drivers for your four-year-old scanner?

            One company cannot be expected to support it's old products forever because some other vendor (or some small number of die-hard users) don't want to upgrade their hardware.

            No one should move to Vista without first doing their homework and knowing what hardware will and won't work.

            I had no trouble at all upgrading a six-year-old Dell to Vista. All the drivers I needed came with Vista.
            M Wagner
          • my next computer.......

            Vista may be making money for Microsoft. But I myself, and several other small business owners I know, simply decided to keep their XP machines even though they wanted to purchase new machines, upgrade the CPU etc., because they will not deal with Vista.

            If Windows 7 arrives before I desperately need a new, more powerful machine - well, let's hope for the best.

            And If Windows 7 still isn't out, maybe it's time to try a MAC.

            Actually, I think it's the PC Vendors who are actually suffering the losses in that people are simply not purchasing new machines they might otherwise purchase

        • Of course not.........

          You have "The Stockholm Syndrome", wherein many "customers" (presently known as "users") begin to like being screwed, most of them even love it, and a few go so far as to demand it (check out your mirrors for examples).

          Does that make it right? Well, as Clinton said, it depends on what the definition of "is" is.......
          Ole Man