Microsoft is playing a dangerous game with its consumers and business users. The software giant has confirmed the rumours circulating that it will pull Windows XP from retail channels at the end of June, leaving users with Vista as their only choice.
The decision will come as a body blow for those businesses that have stayed with Windows 2000 rather than upgrade to Vista, as support for Win2000 is also quietly being phased out.
The decision has also upset PC users sufficiently for around 153,000 of them to sign a petition asking Microsoft to reconsider - or face the possibility of users migrating to the Apple Mac platform.
The petition can be found here.
Microsoft is still talking blithely about Windows 7, which it says will appear in 2010 and appears to be quietly hoping its XP and Win2000 users will soldier on for the next three years. Or give in and upgrade to Vista.
This is sheer arrogance. No-one really knows whether Windows 7 will be a full-blown operating system or just an upgrade to Vista. I suspect the latter. Your mileage may vary.
Whatever happens, Microsoft's decision to pull XP from retail sale this summer is going to upset a lot of users.
Yes, Microsoft supporters are correct when they say XP still only addresses four megabytes of memory - unless you count the 64-bit version of XP, which no-one has bought and is not backwards compatible with 16-bit applications.
Yes, I understand Microsoft's need to extract revenue from its users. But Vista has been a real disaster, so why not offer an annual support package for Windows XP? Ah, that would be too sensible. And embarrass Microsoft, the poor lambs...