Today at Computex, Microsoft Corp. announced that following the success of Windows on netbooks, the Windows offering is being extended to include nettop devices. Netbooks are commonly referred to as ultralow-cost PCs (ULCPCs) and were originally intended for students and other first-time PC customers in emerging markets. Nettop refers to desktops that are ultralow-cost.
I guess some head shaping for the PR staff went on after the April announcement which prominently mentioned Windows XP Home. Today’s announcement confusingly mentions only generic Windows except for one partner quote. So what’s the reason for the enlarged reprieve?
Customers are asking for Windows on these devices because the experience is familiar to existing PC users and easy to learn for customers who are new to computing. Customers want to be able to take advantage of the wide range of applications, devices and online experiences supported by Windows today. Microsoft partners also appreciate Windows-based solutions for these computers because they already know how to build and support high-quality systems that are powered by Windows.
And they can’t do any of those things with Vista apparently, presumably because of its considerable heft, and don’t want Linux sneaking in. One would also guess that the definition of ultralow-cost PC is subject to some negotiation.
So, here’s what the end of life plan for Windows XP currently looks like based on today’s announcement and the Microsoft Volume Licensing Brief, the Royalty OEM Reference Sheet, and the License Availability Roadmap:
- No XP retail availability after June 30, 2008
- No XP OEM (large PC manufacturer) availability after June 30, 2008 except:
- No XP volume purchase licenses after June 30, 2008, but volume purchasers and System Assurance subscribers can always downgrade to XP as long they have the appropriate media.
- No System Builder (smaller PC assemblers) XP availability after January 31, 2009.