I can still buy 2000....
Microsoft has AT LEAST 7 distribution channels for Windows. These are...
Enterprise (Volume license)
Tier-1 (Dell etc.)
OEM (Small system builders, Newegg)
Donor (Direct-ish sales to non-profits, schools, churches, etc at cost of media, handling, and mailing - this is $15 a copy last I looked)
Donor-OEM (A system-refurbisher buys a stack of licenses at the cost of mailing the stickers out and goes at it OEM style with restrictions on who they can give/sell systems to - a whole $5 a pop)
Pirate (Yarr. Seriously. They'd rather you steal it than use something else)
According to the article, they're only cutting Tier-1, OEM, and retail. You know, the copies that go to people with money, agility and resources to deal with problems.
I work at a system refurbisher, and we *JUST* gained the ability to buy Windows XP *THIS YEAR* - and we can only load it onto a system which has a surviving XP license sticker on it still (although we can upgrade Home to Pro without a care)
Next year, we should be losing that restriction and our customers can finally have what they've long wanted.
Oh, and we only just lost Win98 distribution rights this year, as well.
We'll be hanging onto 2000 for quite some time.....
And even then, you can still get 2000 OEM many places - just because the retailer can't buy more doesn't mean they don't have HUGE wads of them floating around. Volume license users can still buy additional licenses. It'll be the same for XP.
Stop your nonsensical panic, calls for Microsoft's head (sorry, but the decision to stop sales of a product doesn't mean dick. If Dell stops selling a certain machine and all your company runs is that machine - TOUGH, you either move, or have a varied environment.
The main issues with Vista relate to a total lack of QA on the system vendor's part - they don't really check to see if the kit can actually DEAL with Vista. My 3 year old laptop can run Vista plenty fine - if you ignore the parts that don't have drivers because it's 3 years old and doesn't even come close to the minimal specifications. They were spoiled by XP's unrelenting acceptance of every Win2000 driver ever written and didn't even bother testing.
Some hardware vendors have been taken completely by surprise by this whole Vista thing - and even more have been taken aback by the sheer AUDACITY of some users to install the 64bit version of the OS. They apparently weren't expecting Microsoft to not charge extra for it, or something.
But in the end, if you're worth a damn as an IT professional, you should find it easy to buy machines that will run whatever version of Vista you damn well desire - and run it well. It's even easier to build one - say the machine that sits on your desk and you play games on while you're pretending to be working.
And while I'm ranting like this, I may as well comment on the USELESSNESS of the Microsoft beta and RC program. NOBODY runs the betas or RCs to TEST the system, or provide feedback. Everyone seems to run it to post screenshots on the internet, or pretend to be better than somebody else. Is it any wonder that the end-product is buggy when Microsoft can't get any useful feedback out of much of the test-base? In software this complicated, you can't test every configuration in house.