In Its Final Days, Windows XP Still Popular

The technology industry has no respect for tradition. It sometimes takes a few years for a market leader to become an also-ran. Then there's Windows XP. Introduced to the buying public on Oct. 25, 2001, this relic is still going strong, found in nearly one-third of all computers today. Windows XP variants also power specialized medical equipment, point-of-sale systems, and ATMs.

Now, Microsoft is finally closing the door on the XP era.

After April 8, Windows XP users "will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft," the company says. Translation: If a major new fault is discovered in Windows XP after that, you can't rely on Microsoft to patch it.

Mary Jo Foley, editor of ZDNet's All About Microsoft blog, says the leap from XP to a more recent version of Windows can be daunting. "There are a bunch of different reasons they haven't moved," Foley says. "Some can't, due to IT policies at their companies. In other cases, incompatibilities with peripherals, unique devices and software all factor in." These infrastructural changes can get complicated, and for some companies, costly to tackle.

Microsoft first made plans for XP's obsolescence soon after launch, plotting out a four-year run while it finished what would become Windows Vista. After Vista launched in 2007, an April 2014 end date for XP was set. But XP is still holding strong with 29% consumer market share across all desktop operating systems. While XP is likely to live on in plenty of systems, security concerns will mount. Unpatched security flaws will make the OS particularly vulnerable in specialized-use cases such as ATMs and point-of-sale systems. "(We believe) that as many as 95% of ATMs have been running on Windows XP," says Jeff Dudash of NCR, the nation's...

Comments are closed.