While Windows XP will soon become scarcer on PCs and drop entirely from retail shelves, the fact of the matter is that the software is going to be a mainstay--particularly in businesses--for some time.
Microsoft can wave its magic wand and force PC makers to stop offering the operating system, but corporations have a lot more leeway. Microsoft's influence is considerably less when it comes to convincing businesses to upgrade or swaying developers to write Vista-specific programs.
Still, the end of XP sales by big-name computer makers is an important symbolic step for Microsoft as it tries to convince even Vista's critics that the operating system is really the only Windows game in town.
It also helps Microsoft in the all-important numbers game. Vista actually has a fair amount of features that could be exploited by developers. Under the covers, the operating system has a new graphics engine, a peer-to-peer mechanism, and other features that really only come to light when developers start targeting them.
The problem is that, so far, there's been darn little Vista-specific software. The best examples I've been able to find in more than a year's time are a new version of Print Shop and a Vista-specific incarnation of Yahoo Messenger.
A new study says that Vista is still attracting very little developer attention, a point that underscores Microsoft's need to nudge the discussion away from Windows XP. For more on the subject, check out this video in which I discuss the matter with News.com colleague Charlie Cooper in our Daily Debrief video talking about that issue, as well as a report that Vista is still not attracting very many developers.