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Microsoft denies extension for Windows XP

But Ballmer will consider customer feedback

Microsoft said there's no plan to reconsider the June 30 deadline to stop selling most new Windows XP licences, despite comments from CEO Steve Ballmer which suggested XP might get another extension.

Ballmer's comments at a press conference at Louvain-la-Neuve University in Belgium led to a flurry of reports on Thursday that Microsoft may be considering an extension of its deadline.

"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, according to Reuters. Microsoft did not have a transcript of the event, but the spokeswoman from Waggener Edstrom said the comments seem accurate.

However, while a Microsoft spokesperson said the company is aware that some customers are pushing for an extension to the deadline, its own research among partners and customers suggests "the dates are right".

"Our plan for Windows XP availability is unchanged. We're confident that's the right thing to do based on the feedback we've heard from our customers and partners," the spokeswoman said.

"We feel we've made the right accommodations for customers in certain segments who may need more time to transition to Windows Vista," she said. "But as Steve noted, we maintain a constant stance of listening to our customers and our partners. That's what is guiding our plan, and will continue to guide us going forward."

The "accommodations" refer to several exceptions that Microsoft has made to the June 30 deadline. For example, companies that make volume purchases of Vista Business or Vista Ultimate can ask their vendor to 'downgrade' their licence to Windows XP. Microsoft has also made exceptions for the emerging class of small, ultra-low-cost PCs, and it will continue to provide Windows XP Starter Edition for PCs sold in emerging markets.

Retailers and PC vendors can also continue to sell any backlog of Windows XP licences that they bought before the June 30 deadline. Beyond those exceptions, most new Windows licenses purchased after June 30 will be for Windows Vista.

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