Windows XP has been around for years, and despite Microsoft's efforts to phase it out during the age of Windows Vista and the coming age of Windows 7, it appears that XP may continue to be offered as a "downgrade" option for PC users. Even though it's been about a year since Microsoft withdrew XP from retail stores, and only sold copies to large computer manufacturers for installation on new PCs, a report from Computerworld indicates that HP has been granted permission by Microsoft to offer XP as a downgrade option until April 30, 2010. The current published deadline for computer makers to cease installing XP is July 31st of this year for large manufacturers and May 30, 2009 for smaller manufacturers.
For it's part, Microsoft is denying the report, which would indicate that Microsoft would allow users to opt not to install their newest Windows 7 OS on their new computers. Windows 7 is due out later this year, and it's doubtful that Microsoft would inspire confidence among users of Windows 7 if it continues to offer XP as an option in the same way it did for frustrated Vista users, given the rocky launch of Vista. Regardless of whether it continues to sell copies to PC makers, Microsoft has indicated that XP will no longer be supported by the company as of the 14th of this month.