Microsoft wants to encourage XP users move to.. Windows 8 instead of 7!
I can't understand why they want to kill XP so bad. Sure, I can understand it why they don't want to support a 12 year old OS "for free" anymore, but this problem is solvable:
Release XP Second Edition (basically SP4 with some minor improvements). Price it at 30$. Problem solved. Of course SE should be installable over existing installations.
Let the Windows Update support die out for the regular XP at its deadline, but keep supporting XP SE with patches after that for the next five to ten years. Make it clear that newer MS software still won't run on it, it's just about patches (most current XP users don't care about that point anyway, otherwise they would have upgraded).
This way XP users (many of them corps) would be happy, and Microsoft gets the funding to support it for the next years.
And by bundling XP SE with IE8 (instead of IE6) they can retire it at regular XP's deadline too.
Sure, any great Apple-envy and locked appstore-fantasies wouldn't be fulfilled this way. Sucks, huh?