Microsoft will continue to support its antivirus software for Windows XP after the operating system’s end of support cut-off on 8 April, it has been announced.

In a blog post, the firm said that corporate customers using System Center Endpoint Protection, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection and Windows Intune will continue to receive updates until 14 July, 2015.

For consumers, this means that the free client Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) will also continue to receive daily updates until that point. What is will not receive are patches for the OS itself or any of the other Microsoft products of the same generation.

Microsoft firm has never actually stated that this continued support wouldn’t be forthcoming but the very fact that it has left it so late to confirm the matter suggests it was in two minds.

In December, it  sent a statement to a a ZDNet blogger stating: “Microsoft will not guarantee updates of our antimalware signature and engine after the XP end of support date of April 8, 2014.”

Having mulled the likelihood of businesses continuing to run XP as part of complex migration programmes it has obviously thought better of this approach.

On the other hand: “Our research shows that the effectiveness of antimalware solutions on out-of-support operating systems is limited. Running a well-protected solution starts with using modern software and hardware designed to help protect against today’s threat landscape,” Microsoft’s blog said.

That is undoubtedly true. In October, Microsoft released research that found that XP was considerably more likely to be affected by malware than later versions of Windows, around 9 per 1,000 systems. This held steady regardless of user behaviour.

Meanwhile, Google has already said it will continue to patch the 32-bit Chrome browser for XP users after the April deadline.