If you're buying an Eee PC in 2010, don't be surprised if it comes with Windows XP Home preinstalled.
If you're one of the many people dreading the removal of Windows XP from sale in the next few months, then you'll be pleased to hear that Microsoft has given the last-generation OS a reprieve – and it's pretty much entirely due to the Asus Eee PC.
Windows XP was due to reach its end-of-life stage in January this year, but Microsoft relented to pressure from customers not ready to make the switch to Vista and moved that date to the 30th of June. That was as far as the company was willing to go, however: they've spent far too much on Vista for everyone to keep buying XP.
But then along game the Asus Eee PC, and a raft of similar devices: small, lightweight machines that are underpowered when compared to their full-size brethren. With the massive success of these miniature marvels, Microsoft has been faced with a tough choice: as the devices aren't physically capable of running even the lightest version of Vista, does the company continue with its plan to kill off Windows XP and allow Linux the chance to flourish on these popular devices, or does it suck up its pride and offer a reprieve for the OS that wouldn't die?
Faced with a dilemma of that nature, there was only ever one predictable outcome. Windows XP will now be available to OEMs right the way through to June 2010, with rumours that support could extend even beyond that date. Microsoft isn't giving up on its efforts to get people to install their latest and greatest, though, with the company only extending the availability of Windows XP Home – the version of the OS which is missing vital networking components that prevent its use in a business environment. If you're hoping to join a network domain, then you're going to be stuck with Windows Vista Business.
Do you applaud Microsoft's move to extend the availability of XP at the lower-performance end of the market, or should makers of devices like the Eee PC concentrate on getting their specifications up to a level capable of running Vista? Share your thoughts over in the forums