April 8, 2014, would be the date when Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) will be pulling the plugs on their most successful operating system in history – Windows XP. On the mentioned date Microsoft would be releasing the last patch for Microsoft XP users. Released for general usage on October 25, 2001, it has been Microsoft’s most successful product till date. Although it has been succeeded by Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1, none of them have been able to replicate the same success for Microsoft.
Even after 13 years since its initial release and new versions of Windows in the market, Windows XP still continues to be one of the most used versions of Windows. Around 29.30% of windows users still use Windows XP to power their machines. Next only to Windows 7.
Windows XP has had the longest shelf life among all the operating systems thanks to its vast user base. The company had initially planned to shut down support in April 2009 but had to continue the support because of its large user base not only among home users but also among enterprise users. Microsoft had earlier warned the enterprise users to shift to its newer versions like Windows 7 or Windows 8, but due to high dependency on Windows XP globally hardly anyone decided to take the plunge. After continuously shifting the deadline, the company finally decided to pull the plugs on April 8. For those who will not be able to shift their critical environments from XP to any other version, Microsoft would still provide some support but it will come at a premium cost.
Why the Hullabaloo on Windows XP shutting down
Windows XP had already outlived its life 5 years ago, so why such a hullabaloo about Microsoft shutting down its support? The reasons are the big corporations, most of them after finding a stable environment in XP stood chained to it. Most of them are still using windows XP in their offices (including mine), and this change would cost them a lot of time and fortune. But with the recent announcement, there are no available options.
But among corporations, the hardest hit is the banking sector. Around two-thirds of ATMs are currently running on Windows XP and there is a very high probability that most of them would not be able to make the April deadline. To deal with this situation they are paying out money to Microsoft for extended support, in the meanwhile, they will slowly move the ATMs from XP to other Windows versions.
Apart from the big corporation there are around one-third of the 1.63 billion PCs in the world that are currently running on Windows XP and not all of them will straight away be moving to another version of Windows and with Microsoft stopping any security updates they would be sitting ducks for hackers.
Microsoft Windows XP would be remembered in history as one of the most successful OS. If Windows 95 & 98 would be remembered in history for taking computers to homes, XP would be remembered as the OS that provided a stable operating environment to the computing industry. This stable and secure environment became the epitome of the perfect OS for the era gone by, something which its successors are finding hard to emulate. Above all, this is an example that when Microsoft gets a product right, it is near perfect.