Microsoft will keep selling XP for cheap PCs

Microsoft is set to continue selling licences for Windows XP for use on low-cost desktop computers, in addition to making it available for the growing number of ultra low-cost laptops hitting the market.

The Windows maker confirmed two months ago that it would continue to sell XP Home edition for an additional two years beyond the June withdrawal date for the operating system, but only for ultra cheap laptops such as the Eee PC, due to the fact that they do not meet the minimum hardware spec needed to run Windows Vista.

However, the company has now expanded that offer to the emerging class of low-cost desktops such as Asus Eee box. The software giant says it is working with over 20 PC makers to deliver "nettop" devices, including the big five of HP, Dell, Asus, Acer and Lenovo.

Steve Ballmer recently admitted that Microsoft could reconsider its decision to phase out Windows XP on 30 June if customers made enough noise on the issue, though with Windows 7 now expected in 2009 the company may feel the market would be too cluttered with three distinct Microsoft-branded consumer operating systems floating around.