In a surprised news, Microsoft has promised to provide support for Windows XP till 2014, a full 13 years after Windows XP was released in October 25, 2001. Microsoft normally terminates support for its operating system within 10 years of its release.
Microsoft senior VP Bill Veghte said the software maker will provide security patches and other critical updates for Windows XP until April, 2014. “Our ongoing support for Windows XP is the result of our recognition that people keep their Windows-based PCs for many years,” Veghte wrote in a letter sent to customers. Majority of Microsoft’s large customers have not upgraded to the newer Windows Vista (released January 2007), due mainly to Vista’s resource requirements and lack of compatibility with older applications. Many of them are expected to skip Vista altogether and continue to use Windows XP until Windows 7 becomes available in 2010 or later.
Microsoft will continue its plan to stop selling Windows XP as a retail packaged product and stop licensing Windows XP to PC manufacturers after June 30, 2008. However, Windows XP will continue to be available to manufacturers of low-cost netbook PCs such as Asus Eee PC through June 2010.
Customers who require Windows XP after June 30 can install a copy by purchasing a Windows Vista license. Microsoft’s software license allows customers who purchase a copy of Windows to install and run a previous version of the OS at no additional cost.
This extended support for security patches and critical updates is great news for Mac users who continue to need to run Windows applications. If you are running your Windows applications in a virtaul machine environment such as VMWare Fusion or Parallels Desktop, we recommend you ditch Windows Vista and choose Windows XP as it is the most compatible Windows operating system with the smallest resource footprint.