As TechFlash’s Todd Bishop reminded us, as of today, October 22, PC makers are no longer allowed by Microsoft to preload Windows XP on new PCs.
Netbooks were the last category of PCs on which Microsoft was still allowing XP preloads at this point. Back in April 2008, Microsoft told OEMs that October 22, 2010, would be the day that no more XP Home would be permitted to be preinstalled on new netbooks.
Update: XP preloads are done, but XP downgrades are not, by the way. Best any of us Microsoft watchers can tell, it looks like XP downgrades will be allowed up until 2015. (Microsoft won’t confirm or deny that date.)
Not so coincidentally, today also is the one-year anniversary of the launch of Windows 7, the primary version of Windows which Microsoft is encouraging PC makers to preload on not just PCs, but also the new crop of slates that are coming out. (Hewlett Packard released its long-awaited Windows 7 slate on October 21 — the one that looked at the start of the year that it might be a real iPad competitor, but ended up as a business tablet.)