Windows XP’s days are numbered literally, according to Microsoft. The software giant is so anxious to lay its most popular operating system to rest that it has announced that there are only 1,000 days of windows support left for the popular operating system.
What that means for those of us who still use XP is that Windows will keep sending out updates and security patches for XP until sometime in 2014. Microsoft has also promised to keep patching XP through April 9, 2014.
You will still be able to keep using XP after the 1,000 days are up. You just won’t receive any support for it in 2014. In Microsoft’s Springboard Series Blog, Stephen L. Rose, the IT community manager for Windows, announced that Microsoft will stop sending out hotfixes and patches for XP on April 9, 2014. Rose also said that other companies that make applications that run on XP will stop doing the same thing on that date. He did not name the companies that will do this or applications that they put out.
Is XP Really Obsolete or is Microsoft Just Trying to Force us to Buy Windows 7 and Windows 8?
Rose’s blog entry sounded like a threat to Windows XP users and a sales pitch for Windows 7. He said that Windows XP would be vulnerable to security threats after that date. Note to Mr. Rose: XP is already vulnerable to security threats and so is Windows 7.
He then rattled off a whole bunch of reasons why you should buy Windows 7 and even tried to direct users to Windows 7 sales material. So this changeover could actually be a sales pitch.
It also makes Microsoft sound desperate to sell Windows 7, which it apparently is. The real reason for these threats could be that Microsoft has not been able to sell Windows 7, and may not be able to sell Windows 8 when it comes out next year.
Microsoft is having a Hard Time Selling Windows 7
The problem is that Microsoft has had a very hard time selling the public on every operating system it has put out since Windows XP. PC World reports that only 27% of computer users use Windows 7 but 51% of them use Windows XP. That means you’re not alone if you’re still using XP. Businesses are even less enthusiastic about Windows 7; 60% of them are still using XP.
What this means is that Windows 7 is basically a flop. Nobody seems to be buying it and Microsoft is scared. They need to start selling large numbers of new Windows operating systems to get their stock prices up. When the markets closed on August 5, you could buy a share of Microsoft for just $25.68.
The smart thing here might be for Microsoft to bring out a new version of XP or try working with XP users. Yet Microsoft isn’t. It is trying to force Windows 7 down computer users’ throats. In other words, Microsoft is acting like Microsoft.
The best hope for Microsoft would be for Windows 8 to come out and for it to be really awesome. Even that might not help Microsoft because Windows XP works really well. In today’s economy, a lot of users are going to say “my computer works great, so why should I spend money on a new operating system that I don’t need?”
Unless you’re in the Mafia, threatening customers is not a good business plan. But that’s what Microsoft seems to be doing here. I have a feeling it is going to backfire and really hurt Microsoft. Many users will simply turn elsewhere.
Internet Explorer 9 Will Not Work with XP
Rose’s blog post is not only the latest threatening move towards XP users from Microsoft. The latest version of Internet Explorer, Explorer 9, will not work with Windows XP. How this will help Microsoft is hard to see because it will just drive XP users to switch to Google Chrome, Apple Safari or Mozilla Firefox.
The fact that Microsoft does not see this shows what is wrong in Redmond these days. The folks at Microsoft don’t seem to realize that the business environment has changed and they have competition.
Google Could Benefit
Not surprisingly, the biggest winner from this will be Google. Many people fed up with Microsoft and not wanting to shell out big bucks for Windows 8 or Windows 7 could switch to Google Chrome OS. Chrome OS is easy to use and it is free.
It is also obvious that Microsoft is still reeling from the Windows Vista debacle. Many people who were burned by Vista and its failures do not want to touch Microsoft again. Apple has cashed in on this big time and Google stands to make even bigger gains.
Another huge market that will probably emerge in the years ahead is service for Windows XP. Instead of buying Windows 7 or Windows 8, a lot of XP users will simply turn to other providers for XP service. We’ve already seen this in the browser market where people simply download Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome OS instead of buying Windows 7 so they can run Explorer 9.
Many companies will undoubtedly be cashing in by putting out fixes including security fixes and hot fixes for Windows XP. If you’re a programmer or software developer and you’re good with XP, you could pick up a few extra bucks by servicing the operating system or writing for it.
It will be interesting to see how Microsoft deals with this. Will they start trying to sabotage these developers next or take legal action against them? Don’t be surprised; Microsoft is already threatening Windows XP users.