Software manufacturer Microsoft has conceded that Windows XP is still in demand and has agreed to continue to sell the popular operating system, albeit in its Home version, only on low cost systems and until 2010.
Although some news wires have announced that only laptops would be covered, it seems that Microsoft could extend the ULCPC to ultra cheap desktops as well, provided that they are smart enough to navigate through Microsoft's Terms and Conditions.
But the software manufacturer has not backed off from its initial deadline of 30th of June 2008, at which date, it will stop selling Windows XP by this date.
Microsoft's announcement shows that the Ultra Cheap computer market is considered as a crucial market to be conquered: as it stands, even a cut-down version of Vista would have no chances against a trimmed down Linux distribution when it comes to speed and price.
Microsoft has released a full set of guidelines (PDF document here) on how to design Flash-based Ultra Low cost PCs for Windows XP and it is yet unknown whether Microsoft will allow manufacturers to bundle WIndows XP with hard drive-based laptops and desktops.
The document is fairly extensive but also slightly confusing (ed : the author of the document seems to confuse between MB and MHz and there's no mention of laptops or notebooks in the document).
In other news, US-based Best Buy has started to sell the Asus Eee PC Galaxy Black with preinstalled Windows XP Home Edition for $399.99.