Confirming the rumors that devices such as Asus' Eee PC are prolonging the life of XP, Microsoft today announced that the previously-established June 30, 2008 cutoff date for OEM and retail Windows XP sales was final, except for the new class of what the company has termed ULCPCs: Ultra Low-Cost PCs.
The nebulously-named class of computers including UMPCs, MIDs, Origami devices, subnotebooks and even desktops that offer lower power have received the official Ultra Low Cost PC (ULCPC) moniker from Microsoft.
Companies making these devices have also received an extended 2-year period (or until Windows 7 comes out, whichever is latest) in which their machines can come equipped with Windows XP, but only the Home edition of the operating system.
Microsoft has said that the extension reflects the company's commitment to deliver "the right version of Windows for new device categories as they emerge."
The company said today, "[We] recognize that there is a growing class of hardware-constrained, lower cost PCs that would benefit from a different Windows based solution. While Windows Vista provides an easier and more secure user experience, Windows XP Home provides an effective solution on these devices from a performance and cost perspective."
In September, at the behest of both customers and partners, Microsoft pushed back the date for OEMs to cease preloading their "regular" systems with XP. As that June 30 date approaches, Microsoft has made it clear that there will be no more extensions, and mainstream technical support will be available only until April 2009. Extended support --for pay support and security fixes-- goes until April 2014.
Microsoft was not swayed by the "Save Windows XP" petition, which has been signed by over 100,000 people asking the company to continue sales of the now 6 and a half year old operating system.