Windows XP just won't die, may stay available until 2011

Windows 7 is only four months away from release, and Vista has been out for over three years, but Windows XP apparently has plenty of life left in it still. ComputerWorld reports that Microsoft has postponed the OS's retirement once again, saying it now plans to offer XP downgrades until as late as April 22, 2011.

Here's Microsoft's statement, as quoted by the website:

Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate customers will have the option to downgrade to Windows XP Professional from PCs that ship within 18 months following the general availability of Windows 7 or until the release of a Windows 7 service pack, whichever is sooner, and if a service pack is developed.

Microsoft previously intended to let PC vendors sell XP-based systems until April 2010, so the new schedule effectively adds a year to the deadline—unless, of course, the first Windows 7 service pack comes out before April 2011. (For the record, Vista SP1 showed up about a year and four months after Vista went gold.)

According to ComputerWorld, Microsoft changed its schedule after complaints from customers and analysts. Gartner analyst Michael Silver, for instance, said the original six-month limit would make PC purchases tricky for organizations trying to jump straight from XP to Windows 7, because those organizations might not want to make that switch until "later in 2010 or even early 2011."

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