Windows 7 starts countdown for XP

May 1, 2009 // 9:59 a.m.

Tags: #linux #netbook #nettop #windows #windows-7-general-availability #windows-xp

Windows XP – the OS that just won't die – will live on outside the virtualised version which will be available with Windows 7, thanks to netbooks.

According to an article over on ComputerWorld, Microsoft's Mike Nash – corporate vice president of the company's Windows product management group, so a man who should know – has confirmed that OEMs will be allowed to continue installing Windows XP on their devices up to twelve months after Windows 7 hits general availability.

Despite the existence of a cut-down edition of Windows 7 targeted – at least unofficially – at low-powered devices such as netbooks and nettops, Windows XP is still proving overwhelmingly popular for manufacturers of such devices. With Windows Vista, the company's current generation of operating system, demanding far higher system resources it's not hard to see why – and even though Windows 7 goes some way to addressing its predecessor's predilections for RAM manufacturers will be pleased to know there's a get-out clause for a while, at least.

All good things must come to an end, however, and Nash has stated that once the twelve month grace period is up it's Windows 7 or nothing for the OEMs. It's a move Microsoft will be pleased to make: the company has been looking to rid itself of its previous generation of operating system for quite some time, and each time customer demand – along with threats to move to alternative operating systems – have resulted in a stay of execution. The continued support has cost the company dearly, too: the company's financial report for the last quarter showed the Windows client revenue stream drop by 16 percent – largely due to a majority of sales being to netbook OEMs who opt for Windows XP Home, the cheapest version.

There is no immediate indication that the deadline – which could hit as early as the latter half of 2010 – will affect the continued support of what will then be the last-last-generation operating system. Indeed, with Windows XP being added to Windows 7 as a virtualised guest in order to boost compatibility confidence, we may even see XP receiving security updates beyond the original 2014 best-before date.

Are you pleased to hear that cheap Windows XP netbooks won't be going anywhere for a while yet, or do you think OEMs should be looking to move to Windows 7 sooner rather than later – even if it means chucking more processing power at the problem? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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