MS Announces: Windows XP will be sticking around for ten more years [UPDATED]
Ahh, I just love Windows XP. Don't you? That default theme never fails to irritate me. It's a UI so tacky that it pushed me to spend countless hours in figuring out how to customize it or get rid of it altogether (go LiteStep!).
Other Windows XP users are not as fortunate; these are mainly people sitting in gray, depressing cubicles, with restrictive IT departments and massive corporate-wide Windows installations. Up until today, these cubicled masses had some hope for a friendlier computing environment. After all, XP wasn't going to be supported forever, right?
Wrong. Today Microsoft announced Windows 7 users will be able to downgrade to XP at any point during Windows 7's life cycle. For Windows 7 Ultimate, that means up until 2020. In Microsoft's words:
Going forward, businesses can continue to purchase new PCs and utilize end user downgrade rights to Windows XP or Windows Vista until they are ready to use Windows 7. Enabling such rights throughout the Windows 7 lifecycle will make it easier for customers as they plan deployments to Windows 7.
What this effectively means is that IT departments who have an established enterprise-wide Windows XP installation base now don't have to upgrade. If (when) they buy new computers, they can just take their shiny new hardware and trick it out with crappy, outmoded Windows XP. Their users must be so happy!
UPDATE: Microsoft has updated the original post to make things a bit clearer. It turns out the original information wasn't fully spot-on. Below are the exact details on what the extension means:
The sales lifecycle of Windows 7 will end two years after the release of the next version of Windows (which we don't yet know a ship date for). Downgrade rights only apply to how long Windows 7 will sell on OEM PCs – this is where the EULA comes into play, as mentioned above.
The support lifecycle of Windows 7 will be officially supported until 2019 – 10 years from its ship date. In simpler terms, as long as Windows 7 is sold via OEMs you can downgrade to XP. Once it stops selling, I assume the downgrade rights would be to Windows 7 itself (as we'll have the new version of Windows out).