Several industry observers interpreted that "life cycle" phrase to mean that the Windows XP "downgrade" offer would last until the (anticipated) cut-off date for Microsoft's official support of the corresponding product. Windows 7 Pro is currently scheduled to go off life support in January 2020 so, for example, Computerworld's Gregg Keizer, in his article "Microsoft to keep XP alive until 2020," figured that meant companies could count on free Windows XP Pro downgrades until January 2020, at which point XP would no longer qualify as geriatric, presumably, but lapse into abject decrepitude. It's hard to beat free, eh?
LeBlanc shot back the next day. He updated his post to say:
[C]ustomers will not be able to buy a Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate PC with end user downgrade rights after Windows 7 reaches the end of sales date in the OEM channel -- which according to the current Windows Lifecycle policy is 2 years after the next version of Windows ships.
Most industry observers figure Windows chief Steve Sinofsky will get Windows 8 (by whatever name) out the door in time for Christmas 2012. If he hits that date, LeBlanc is saying that you have until late 2014 to buy a new PC with Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate pre-installed, and hobble it to Windows XP Pro or Ultimate, for free.
You just have to find somebody who remembers how to install XP.
Looking for a Windows reference that doesn't toe the Microsoft party line? Check out Woody's "Windows 7 All-in-One for Dummies." Irreverent. Fun. Accurate.
This article, "Sorry, but Windows XP 'downgrades' won't be available through 2020," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.