Microsoft has announced that manufacturers will be able to sell Windows on "nettops" — or low-cost desktops — in another move that looks set to keep XP alive for several years yet.
At the Computex trade fair in Taiwan this week, Microsoft said that after offering Windows for netbooks — or ultra-low-cost PCs intended for students and first-time PC customers in emerging markets — it will also offer the operating system on "nettops" until June 2010.
The company would not further specify which version of Windows will be used on nettops, but it has been widely reported that the move represents an extension of the lifespan of XP, which had been scheduled for execution later this year for mainstream PCs.
Cheaper machines, however, face no such threat. In April Microsoft said that it would allow XP Home to still be sold on ultra-low-cost PCs until 30 June 2010 or one year after the launch of Windows 7, whichever is later. Today's announcement suggests that Microsoft will additionally allow nettops to be sold with XP in the foreseeable future.
"Customers and partners have made it clear to us that they want Windows on their netbooks and nettops," Steven Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of the OEM division at Microsoft, said in a statement.
However, grabbing some of the new emerging market also figures in Microsoft's thinking: "The marketplace for this emerging class of computers has expanded, and Microsoft and its partners are now seeing interest in these devices in developed markets as well, especially as companion devices in multi-PC households," the company said.