By Stuart J. Johnston
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said recently that it’s OK with him if you want to stick with Windows XP until Windows 7 is available late next year.
XP lovers may still be able to buy a new PC with that operating system installed for another year or so, but unfortunately, Microsoft plans to end most free support for the OS within months.
On that date — Apr. 14, 2009 — millions of PC users, some of whom bought their systems less than a year earlier, will be left in the lurch. These users will have to pay Microsoft for Windows XP support, although downloading critical security patches is expected to remain free of charge.
The end of support is planned despite the fact that consumers can still buy a new PC that runs XP rather than Vista, which was released nearly two years ago. It’s ironic that no less a personage than Microsoft chief Ballmer tells users that staying with XP until Windows 7 ships late next year is a viable option.
What’s a poor Windows XP user to do?
Third-party vendors pledge XP compatibility
Ballmer has said repeatedly over the past 10 to 15 years that the stiffest competition a new version of Windows confronts in the marketplace is the previous version of Windows. If the previous version is “good enough,” then a lot of people won’t buy the upgrade. XP just may prove Ballmer right.