The emergence and subsequent popularity of what Microsoft calls ultra-low-cost PCs has meant a stay of execution for Windows XP, the company's older operating system.

Microsoft has announced "the worldwide extension of the availability of Windows XP Home for an emerging, new class of mobile personal computers commonly known as ultra-low-cost PCs, or ULCPCs".

As the specifications for such hardware is fairly low-end, the budget devices can't run Microsoft's more demanding OS Vista.

Microsoft says Windows XP Home for ULCPCs will be available until the later of 30 June 2010, or 1 year after general availability of the next version of Windows.

Michael Dix, general manager of Windows client product management states: "Windows is the preferred operating system for ULCPC buyers ... That's why we are extending direct OEM sales of Windows XP Home for ULCPCs".

But, on the subject of whether this extension means XP will get a longer life in other areas, Dix says: "There is no plan to extend sales of other editions of Windows XP beyond June 30, 2008".