Windows XP is the Microsoft OS that refuses to die.
Despite the popularity of Windows 7 -- which is still in beta and does not yet have a firm release date -- it has been claimed that Microsoft will allow PC giant Hewlett Packard to continue shipping computers with Windows XP until April 30, 2010. This deal has not been widely announced and should be considered a rumor.
AppleInsider reports that a source inside HP has learned that Microsoft will continue to sell Windows XP beyond May 30, 2009, the (latest) date the OS was supposed to no longer be available on new systems.
But selling XP doesn't necessarily mean it will be supported. The leaked internal memo states that Microsoft will discontinue XP mainstream support, and will provide only security updates. "It's important to remind customers that Microsoft are [sic] still planning to retire XP Pro Mainstream support on April 14th 2009 and will only provide OS security updates beyond that date unless the customer has an Extended Hotfix Support contract. MS Extended Support for XP Pro ends on April 8th 2014," the memo reads.
Downgrades will still cost interested consumers. Some PC makers have charged up to $150 to downgrade customers from Vista to XP; it's unknown how much HP will charge. The downgrades have been used to allay the fears of businesses and consumers that every Microsoft-generated OS beyond XP isn't a complete shipwreck.
If HP is allowed to ship XP beyond its many death dates, there's a chance other PC manufacturers will be able to do the same.
Windows 7's supposed release date is October 2009. Extending XP to and beyond this point allows consumers to ability to make a decision on whether to upgrade their systems to the better version of Vista or to stick with the tried and true OS.
Microsoft has to put its foot down and stop selling Windows XP. Continuing to sell the 8-year-old OS makes Microsoft look weak and no longer able to craft reliable materials fit for the public. If Microsoft wants to make Vista and Windows 7 look like winners, the company needs to promote them as reliagle and sturdy operating systems capable of handling consumer and business demands. Selling Windows XP appeases customer interests, but does nothing for a company looking to progress and innovate.