Microsoft on Tuesday gave OEMs two more years to sell ultra low-cost desktop PCs (ULCPCs) equipped with Windows XP Home, expanding the scope of an offer it made two months ago.
Cheap, ultra-low voltage notebook and desktop PCs with the primary purpose of connecting to the Internet, categories which Intel recently started calling "Netbooks," and "Nettops," are being touted by the chip maker as vehicles for its new Atom brand of low-power hardware platforms. Intel is showing off the new Atom technology this week at the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan.
Microsoft in April said it would allow OEMs to sell XP Home on Netbooks until June 30, 2010, and its latest move extends the offer to Nettops as well. That means if Microsoft sticks to its current late 2009 target date for launching Windows 7, the successor to Vista, the vendor will be offering three different versions of Windows when 2010 rolls around.
ULCPCs generally have smaller screen sizes and lower-powered processors, and their functionality is generally limited to Web browsing, email, and instant messaging. The extension reflects Microsoft's desire for Windows, and not Linux, to become the OS of choice on ULCPCs, which PC makers are using to reach educational markets and developing nations.
The extension is also another sign that market demand for XP remains strong despite Microsoft's rapidly approaching June 30 retirement date for the OS, which was introduced in 2001.
OEMs that sell ultra low-cost desktop PCs with Windows XP include: Acer ASUSTek Computer, BenQ, Dell, First International Computer, Gigabyte Technology, HP, Inventec, Lenovo, Medion AG, Micro-Star International, Positivo Informatica, Pegatron, Quanta Computer, and Wistron.