Microsoft says it's sticking to XP deadline

Microsoft has sent out a letter to customers reconfirming its commitment to the 30 June XP deadline, at it attempts to wipe away accusations of dithering over the operating system's fate.

The company's decision to wield the XP axe has met with fierce resistance ever since the plan was announced, forcing the company to extend the deadline from January and introduce a complicated, staggered approach.

Despite the letter's insistence that "nothing has changed with regards to its previous timeline", Microsoft clearly feels that some uncertainty remains over its plans which could still be undone after Steve Ballmer admitted in April that XP could live on should enough customers demand it.

As it stands, Microsoft will stop selling Windows XP to shops and original equipment manufacturers on 30 June. However, balanced against this supposed "deadline", XP will still be available to low-cost laptop and desktop makers such as Asus, non-major whitebox system builders and major PC makers offering it through "downgrade rights", the system whereby the customer pays extra for a copy of XP on their major as opposed to Vista, which is thrown in the box for installation at a later date.

In fact, it appears perfectly likely that you'll be able to get hold of an XP-loaded machine quite easily for a number of years to come, though mainstream support is scheduled to cut off in April 2009.

Certain customers will also be eligible for extended support policies, which will carry support into 2014, by which time maybe the furore over Vista will have settled down.