Microsoft may have extended support for its popular XP operating system until 2014, but it still needs to push Vista.

But it seems it's having problems persuading computer manufacturers to do the same.

Dell has openly declared its support for the older OS calling its successor, Windows Vista, a "bonus" that comes with Windows XP.

Taking advantage of a loophole in the Vista licensing agreement that means it can continue to offer machines pre-installed with Windows XP even after yesterday's cut-off date, Dell is now offering Vista simply as a "bonus".

And to add salt to the wound, its blog heaps praise on XP but refers to Vista as its "harshly debated predecessor" - not, oddly, successor.

"Can this be right? After more than a year of dodging the EOL [end of life] bullet, Microsoft Windows XP finds itself square in the iron sights of its long and harshly debated predecessor [sic], Vista", the Dell Channel blog reads.

"The curtain has fallen, and the credits are rolling, but how does the crowd feel about the show? Or better yet, what do they think of the sequel?"

"It's been a good run for XP, who's been touted as the longest shipping (2001-2008) and most widely accepted operating system Microsoft has put out to date", Dell's channel liaison representative Michael Bukowski continues.

"It's also, as far as I can remember, the only OS that's actually created a public outcry, endorsing its temporary pardon from joining the inevitable resting place of Windows 95, 98, 2000, etc... But as they say, all good things must come to an end, and it's an end that XP has finally found."

Dell concludes: "With rumors of Windows 7 visible, but not quite distinguishable, on the horizon; Vista's victory over XP may be short lived, although you'll have to stay tuned for more on that one."