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Ballmer: You want XP, we'll keep XP

Microsoft's CEO says the pre-Vista Windows version could live beyond a June 30 deadline, if operating-system customers demand it. So far, they have not.

The death of Windows XP may have been greatly exaggerated.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the company could re-evaluate its plans to phase out Windows XP by June 30, if customers demand that it stick around. So far, they have not.

"XP will hit an end-of-life. We have announced one. If customer feedback varies, we can always wake up smarter, but right now, we have a plan for end-of-life for new XP shipments," Ballmer said during a Thursday news conference in Belgium, according to Reuters.

Big-name computer makers are still scheduled to have to stop selling models with Windows XP installed by the end of June. Mainstream technical support will continue to be available for Windows XP through April 2009, and more limited support will continue through April 2014.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Windows XP's impending demise: "If customer feedback varies, we can always wake up smarter." Dan Farber/CNET

Microsoft does plan to continue selling Windows XP for a limited class of PCs it calls "ultralow-cost PCs." It's a category that covers machines with slower processors, smaller screens and, in many cases, flash memory, rather than a traditional hard drive, for storage.

Ballmer said most consumers are choosing to buy the current version of Windows, Vista. Many acquire Vista by default, however, since most new PCs ship with the operating system. Businesses have been slower to catch on, as many have clung to Windows XP and older versions of Windows.

While Microsoft ponders yet another stay of execution for Windows XP, it's readying a new version of Windows, being developed under the code name "Windows 7."

Earlier this month, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates indicated that Windows 7 could come within the next year--in some form, possibly a developer-oriented version--far ahead of the development schedule previously indicated by the software maker.

Ballmer on Thursday also reiterated Microsoft's intention of appealing directly to Yahoo shareholders, if the company rejects Microsoft's offer of $43.6 billion for the company.

"We've sent them a letter that says, 'it's a good price; please let us know. If you don't let us know, maybe your shareholders will think it's a good price,'" Reuters reported.