June 30 of this year and Jan. 31, 2009, may be the deadlines for U.S. retailers and custom system builders, respectively, to sell Windows XP. But, due to exceptions Microsoft has made, the operating system will be available for at least the next two years for those who purchased business and Ultimate versions of Vista, as well as for customers in certain geographies.
Microsoft has made it widely known that it will stop distributing XP to U.S. manufacturers and retailers on June 30, while custom system builders can put XP on hardware until Jan. 31, 2009. But what is probably less known -- and not because Microsoft has been hiding the fact -- is that Windows XP Starter Edition, a scaled-down version of the OS for emerging markets, will be available until June 30, 2010.
Moreover, business and end-users who have purchased Windows Vista Business or Ultimate licenses either at retail or through enterprise agreements with Microsoft have indefinite "downgrade" rights to XP as part of their license agreements, according to a Microsoft spokeswoman.
Microsoft, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Vista Ultimate