Microsoft Sends a "Dear John" Letter to XP

It's not over yet - not completely - but it might as well be. On Monday Microsoft sent out a letter to its customers dashing any hopes of a stay of execution for Windows XP.

The letter (PDF) from Bill Veghte, senior vice president of the Online Services & Windows Business group, affirms that after June 30 Microsoft will suspend OEM distribution of Windows XP. The extension some people advocated isn't happening. Good. As I've expressed before, Microsoft can't get XP out of the OEM channel fast enough.

But vestiges of XP distribution will continue, since system builders can continue shipping the operating system through Jan. 31, 2009. They acquire the software from distributors. Now this is interesting: "All OEMs, including major OEMs, have this option."

As I previously explained and Bill affirms, businesses have two downgrade rights options, which work similarly with Windows Vista as they did with Windows XP. Volume licensing subscribers can "downgrade" from the Vista preinstalled on their PCs to XP.

Naturally, many businesses have custom images for their PCs and laptops anyway, and re-image any they purchase, so you can expect corporations to keep rolling out XP computers for some time to come - perhaps until Windows 7.
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