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Microsoft grants Windows XP a reprieve

System builders and resellers get extra time to obtain licenses for the discontinued XP for their systems.

Updated at 1:10 p.m. PT with Microsoft comment.

Some PC makers now have an extra four months to sell Windows XP.

The BBC reported Monday that Microsoft has extended the deadline for smaller PC builders and resellers to obtain licenses for the discontinued operating system from the previous deadline of January 31, 2009 to May 30, 2009.

"Microsoft is making accommodation through a flexible inventory program that will allow distributors to place their final orders by January 31, 2009; and take delivery against those orders through May 30, 2009," a Microsoft representative said in an e-mailed statement. "This is not an extension of sales."

Even after May 30, however, it's still not the end of XP. The operating system will be available on ultra-low-cost PCs until June 30, 2010, and the low-end Windows XP Starter Edition will continue to be available in emerging markets until the same date.

Plus, big PC makers plan to offer PCs with Vista Ultimate and Vista Business that have been factory downgraded at customers' request until July 30 next year.