I don't know if you are aware about the InfoWorld campaign to save Windows XP. They have a nice countdown timer on their site. As I post this article, XP has 144 days left.
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That is, after June 30 Microsoft plans to end sales of Windows XP to OEM partners. Meanwhile, more than 75,000 signed the petition, but according to a PCWorld article, Microsoft is showing no signs of mercy for XP lovers.
When asked about the petition, a Microsoft spokesman replied:
We're aware of it, but are listening first and foremost to feedback we hear from partners and customers about what makes sense based on their needs. That's what informed our decision to extend the availability of XP initially, and what will continue to guide us.
From all I have read about this Windows XP vs. Vista issue, I somehow doubt that customers "need" that OEMs are not allowed to sell XP anymore soon. If Microsoft is really listening to their customers (you can read this in almost every MS marketing text), then why not let them decide if they want to buy Windows XP or Vista?
It is understandable that Microsoft wantsticks to get rid of XP as soon as possible, so they can focus on Vista only. However, forcing customers to move to Vista is not the solution to this problem. A better strategy would have been to release Vista SP1 earlier.
Since we have a so-called campus agreement with Microsoft, we are not faced with this problem. I don't remember the details of our contract, but I think we could still run Windows 95 if we wanted to. Volume license customers have more or less the same options. Check out this InfoWorld article for all the possible options to continue using XP.
Please, don't get me wrong. I am not recommending sticking to XP for as long as it's possible. If I had my own way, we would have already moved all our PCs to Vista. The problem is that most of them only have 1GB RAM, and in my opinion that is not enough. So we move to Vista only with new PCs. However, if we have to clone an old PC for whatever reasons, it will be Vista in the near future. This PC will then just get some extra memory.