The moment you've all been dreading has finally come. Dell says that June 18 is going to be the last day that you can order a desktop or laptop with an OEM version of (almost) everyone's favorite operating system, Windows XP. According to detailsposted on the Dell Web site:
Per the Microsoft Windows life-cycle policy, direct OEM and retail license availability for Windows XP will end-of-life (EOL) on June 30, 2008. To meet Microsoft's June 30 last-day-to-ship OEM Windows XP deadline, June 18 is the last time to purchase a Dell laptop, desktop, or workstation with an OEM Windows XP license (or while supplies last).
After June 18, you have the option to purchase Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate with a downgrade service to Windows XP Professional.
This option will be available on XPS 630, 720 H2C, and M1730 systems. After June 18, Windows XP will no longer be offered on currently available Inspiron desktops.
This "downgrade" option hasn't been fully sketched out yet, but presumably, it involves eating the cost of a more expensive Vista license, and this being Dell, paying some kind of modest fee.
XP isn't totally dead, however--Microsoft will still offer it to individual system builders until January 31, 2009, and a suddenly popular stripped-down version will continue to be available for Netbook-style laptops, such as the Asus Eee PC and .
News.com has more on the.