In an unprecedented move, Microsoft has committed to providing support services for its soon to be retired Windows XP through 2014 — a full 13 years after the operating system was originally released. In a letter sent to customers this week, 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. That may be, but Microsoft normally terminates support for an OS within ten years of its release — at the latest. For instance, it plans to end support for Windows 2000 in 2010.
Microsoft may have little choice but to support Windows XP for an extended period, given that the majority of its large business customers have not upgraded their personal computers and laptops to the newer, Windows Vista operating system.
“It’s true that we will stop selling Windows XP as a retail packaged product and stop licensing it directly to major PC manufacturers [after June 30],” wrote Veghte. “But customers who still need Windows XP will be able to get it,” he said.