Microsoft will support Windows XP until 2010 -- on low power laptops only

Last week we were speculating that Microsoft could issue a stay of execution for Windows XP. Computer makers are supposed to stop loading the OS on new PCs at the end of June. But here's the thing, some of the most popular laptops on the market this year are pretty much incapable of running Windows Vista.

That's because low power ultraportable devices like the Eee PC and the Everex Cloudbook are hot this year. But these low cost devices also have low powered processors, not much storage space, and even less RAM. So if Microsoft were to kill off Windows XP entirely, the company would be giving Linux an awful big push, because various Linux distributions run beautifully on these tiny computers.

So what's a software company to do if it wants to promote its new OS while making sure that as many computers as possible have Windows on them? Easy. Microsoft is going ahead and telling most computer manufacturers to stop installing Windows XP. But companies that are putting out Vista incapable devices can continue to install the operating system until 2010 and possibly longer.

The move makes a lot of sense. But you know what would make even more sense? Letting computer makers install XP on any machine. While Windows Vista SP1 has brought some reliability and stability improvements, there are still a lot of people out there who prefer Windows XP. By discontinuing the operating system, Microsoft is essentially telling them to hold off on buying a new computer unless they've got a spare XP install disc lying around.


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