Microsoft says it will continue to sell its Windows XP operating system for an extra five months in response to demand from customers.

The company originally intended to stop selling Windows XP as of Jan. 30, 2008, to make way for its new Vista operating system. Microsoft announced on Thursday that it will now extend the sale of XP to June 30, 2008.

Microsoft has traditionally continued selling its old operating systems for 18 months to two years after the release of a new version. The original Jan. 30 sell-by date would have amounted to one year after Vista's release.

"There are some customers who need a little more time to make the switch to Windows Vista," Mike Nash, corporate vice-president for Windows product management, said in a release.

Al Gillen, system software analyst with IDC, told the Seattle Times that Microsoft's decision to extend XP sales is not an indicator of the success or failure of Vista.

"If Windows Vista was selling really well and people were just falling all over themselves to get on it, there would still be customers that couldn't, for whatever reason, … make the move in the short term," Gillen told the paper.

Still, some consumers have been slow to adopt Vista because it requires more memory than XP.

In April, PC maker Dell Inc. said it would once again let home PC buyers choose between Microsoft Corp.'s older operating system and Windows Vista when they purchase certain new machines.

Dell, like many computer makers, stopped offering XP on most home desktops and laptops soon after Vista launched at the end of January.

But on Dell's IdeaStorm website, where visitors can post suggestions for the company and vote on the ones they think are important, a plea titled "Don't eliminate XP just yet" racked up more than 10,700 votes.

With files from the Associated Press