Microsoft Won't Budge On Windows XP Dirt Nap

In a thank you letter sent to customers Monday, Bill Veghte, senior vice president of Microsoft's Online Services and Windows Business Group, reiterated Microsoft's June 30 end-of-life date for XP and said Microsoft plans to continue supporting XP with security updates and other critical updates until April 2014.

The letter contains no new information, but instead reprises the main talking points to which Microsoft has stuck since customers and partners began complaining about Vista's shortcomings: Namely, that unhappy Vista customers will still be able to use XP, and that the market's perception of Vista is quite different from the reality.

Veghte emphasized that XP-hungry customers will still be able to buy PCs with XP from system builders until January 31, 2009, or by exercising the downgrade rights Microsoft offers with OEM versions of Vista Business or Vista Ultimate and to volume licensing customers.

Microsoft will also continue to sell XP Home and XP Starter versions with low cost notebooks and PCs (also known as Netbooks and Nettops) until June 30, 2010, according to Veghte.

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Describing Vista as "a very ambitious release", Veghte said the security enhancements Microsoft added to the OS have paid major dividends. For example, in 2007 Vista had half as many critical vulnerabilities as XP SP2 had during the same period, and PCs running Vista are 60 percent less likely to be infected by malware than machines running XP SP2, said Veghte.

Veghte acknowledged that the architectural changes Microsoft had to make with Vista to achieve these security improvements led to compatibility issues with existing hardware and applications, but said these issues have for the most part been resolved.

The good news, according to Veghte, is that Windows 7, the successor to Vista that's due either in late 2009 or early 2010, uses the same core architecture as Vista, which means customers won't have to suffer through another painful migration.

"Our goal is to ensure the migration process from Windows Vista to Windows 7 is straightforward," Veghte said in the letter.