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Microsoft gives XP an extra two years to live (kinda)

For bargain basement PCs only

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Microsoft said today it will continue to sell Windows XP Home beyond its scheduled June 30 kill-date for the emerging class of "ultra-low-cost PCs," or ULCPCs.

The operating system has been granted a reprieve until mid-2010, but only for the diminutive laptops such as the Asus Eee PC and Intel Classmate PC which lack the hardware necessary to run Windows Vista adequately.

The cut-off date for XP licenses in mainstream boxes remains the end of June, 2008. Free live support and warranty-based technical support will dry up next April. After that, customers need to pay for phone support until April 2014, when Microsoft washes its hands completely dry. XP security fixes will continue to be available for free.

Computer makers can sell XP Home on ULCPC machines through June 30, 2010, or one year after the scheduled launch of the next version of Windows. Exactly what lack of specs Microsoft is using to determine if a computer is an ULCPC remains unclear.

Microsoft was first wary of allowing anything less than Vista pre-installed on these tiny laptop computers. But when initial units started shipping with Linux, there was a rapid change of heart.

Or as Michael Dix, head of Windows client product management, tells the story, "One thing we’ve heard loud and clear, from both our customers and our partners, is the desire for Windows on this new class of devices."

Asus Eee PC 701

An entirely random Eee PC image from our database.

Microsoft has extended the Windows XP sales deadline once before. By its original intentions, XP would have been dead three months ago.

Microsoft also announced today it will continue to offer Windows XP Starter Edition in emerging markets until June 30, 2010.

Oh, XP, I wish I knew how to quit you. ®

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