Microsoft speeding-up XP's demise

(Photo: Microsoft)Surface Pro with Windows 8 Pro on display at a celebration event at the Microsoft Store in Las Vegas.

Customers have until April 30 to abandon Windows XP and will receive a $50 gift card from Microsoft for doing so.

Microsoft is handing out the gift cards on its online Microsoft Store to customers that buy any of the 16 models of notebooks, desktops, tablets or 2-in-1 hybrids that run the Windows 8.1 operating system. The card is good for future purchases at the Microsoft Store.

The 16 devices that come with the $50 incentive include four notebooks, four all-in-one desktops, four tablets and four hybrids. Prices of the four notebooks range from $279 (Asus VivoBook) to $699 (Dell Inspiron). Tablet prices range from $229 for a Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet to $1,299 for an HP Envy Recline all-in-one.

Customers that buy any of these 16 devices will also receive free telephone and live-chat support for 90 days. They can download Laplink Express for free. Laplink is a free file- and settings-transfer tool from Microsoft available to anyone.

The come-on is the latest in Microsoft's campaign to convince customers to junk the decade-old XP operating system. Microsoft, however, said it will issue the final patches for XP security vulnerabilities on April 8.

Microsoft has intensified its campaign to ditch the XP in the last few months, but has apparently been unable to convince diehard XP users to switch. The company is asking XP users to either upgrade their existing PCs to Windows 8.1 or buy a new computer running 8.1.

Junking XP isn't proving to be easy considering the OS' wide popularity: XP currently powers 30 percent of all the world's personal computers and 32 percent of those running Windows.

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