It's beginning to resemble a bad joke at this point... WTF are they doing? More than 70% of Windows users are running XP - it's eight years old. Many customers were ready for a new Windows, upgraded their computers, hated Vista and refused to use it. They reverted to XP which MS continued to support well past the expected lifetime, and simultaneously computers quit getting faster at exponential rates.
So now we have lots of modern computers that are content with an eight year old Windows release that's mostly up to date, and will have no reason to upgrade for years. New computers still sell with XP more than Vista, and for all we know Win7 could be another year out. Customers have a newfound appreciation for how stable and refined XP is (or can be).
But even in 2001, XP was slow to take - it took about four years to overtake Win2k in the corporate space. Windows 7 will meet an utterly awful economy with the damning news that computer hardware no longer obsoletes itself each year - Microsoft's planned obsolescence product model has kicked its own ass.
So what I don't understand is what they think being rabid about Windows piracy stands to gain them today? They need the market share more than they need the extra 0.1% of pirated copies that would actually translate into sales. When they turn off XP support, shit will hit fans... unless Windows 7 can get you free coffee and cheap drugs, Windows XP support will have to be switched off at a time when it still retains the largest userbase of any other OS.
They're hunting for their users' last straw, which seems like a bad sign to me; this is only a matter of time before they trip over themselves and fall off the tower. PC vendors abound waiting to market and sell you preconfigured, secure, compatible and supported desktops running Linux. When software developers catch on, checkmate.
The original forum thread about it with a nice history of its development is here:
and the new official support forum for it is here:
What is the best way of avoiding being put on a blacklist, and dealing with the flood of bounces?