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Microsoft gives XP another four months to live

Comes in behind MS-DOS 6

Seven Steps to Software Security

Microsoft just can't quit you, Windows XP.

The final shipment date of Microsoft's aged, yet distinctively non-Vista operating system has been extended yet again. System builders can now obtain Windows XP until May 30, 2009.

Windows XP was originally scheduled for OEM extinction on January 31, 2009. That deadline was given once, twice, three times the delay to mid-2010, provided the Windows XP licenses were for netbooks and low-cost PCs that can't handle Windows Vista - or perhaps more importantly, can and do support Linux.

Microsoft has a problem, though, given the popular opinion of Windows Vista ranks just below Typhoid Mary in terms of "must-have" status. PC makers selling larger systems have been working around the January 2009 Windows XP expiration date by offering Windows-Vista-loaded machines with an option to downgrade to Windows XP.

Under the new, four-month extension, PC makers must still purchase licenses before January 31, but can choose to have the licenses delivered through May 30, 2009. This is apparently a move to keep system builders from stockpiling licenses as currency in a post-XPalypic future or at least until Microsoft can shove early versions of Windows 7 out the door in late 2009.

The latest extension means Windows XP is now coming in just short of being Microsoft's longest-offered operating system, with 89 months of desktop license availability. The winner by a nose is MS-DOS 6, which was available to system builders for 90 months. ®

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