Perhaps in preparation for the upcoming Windows 7, Microsoft announced that Mainstream support for Windows XP will transition into Extended support, effective April 14th 2009.
What does this mean, exactly?
Not much for the average XP user, so don’t panic. Your operating system will function as usual and you’ll still get security updates through 2014 via Windows Update. The catch is that all other technical problems related to Windows XP are now considered “Extended Support” and will therefore cost money per incident, depending on the issue.
Mainstream support typically lasts five years, but in the case of Windows XP it has gone on for almost seven and a half! This is due, perhaps, to the overall dissatisfaction with Windows Vista and possible reluctance to move to Windows 7. On the bright side, Windows XP “downgrade rights” will continue until April 30th 2010. You can read more about downgrade rights here.