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Can Microsoft Really Kill Off Windows XP? (Part 3)

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Can Microsoft Really kill XP?

The trouble with massively successful products like Windows XP is once they get out into the wild, they do tend to take on a life of their own. Because Windows then wasn’t run like the walled-garden that Apple has with its controlled App Store, anyone was able to use XP in whatever way they imagined.

 
Can Microsoft Really kill XP?

Can Microsoft Really kill XP?

At the launch, Microsoft wanted as many people as possible to use it, and then order Office, or any of the other expensive software that goes with Windows. Windows being ‘open’ at least in terms of the software and hardware you could install with it was a huge selling point, and it made Windows the OS that dominated the market. That was then; this is now.

Having supported the expansion and growth of XP over more than a decade Microsoft has the unenviable chore of taking XP out to make room for new purchasing experiences. However, it’s not as straightforward as that statement might suggest, because all those who own Windows XP aren’t singing from eh approved Microsoft song sheet any longer.

Probably a year after Vista launched, it was obvious that XP owners were going to be difficult, and Microsoft has focused resources on Vista, and now Windows 7 and 8, to make them relinquish their beloved OS.

Windows 8 flailing about gaining little traction, Microsoft has only one card left to play which is to remove support for XP entirely.

Windows 8 flailing about gaining little traction, Microsoft has only one card left to play which is to remove support for XP entirely.

Having seen relatively little headway from this marketing money, and Windows 8 flailing about gaining little traction, Microsoft has only one card left to play which is to remove support for XP entirely. This is a move you only get to play once, and it’s the final gambit.

In a fantasy world that only senior software execs can exist in, they’d send a missive to tier support division asking them to send an automated update out that stopped all XP machines working and placed an option to upgrade on the screen.

Even Microsoft can’t really try that (can it?), so once it’d dealt the end-of-support card, it’s left to try to ignore all those ex-customers as much as it’s practical to do so.

It’s sobering to consider that I’m talking about almost 40% of all desktop computers on the planet in that sweeping statement, but that is where it’s chosen to go. This exposes the somewhat surprising truth, which is that XP is done when those using it say so, not Microsoft. As companies go, Microsoft is big, but it is entirely dwarfed when compared with the approximately 600 million active XP users in the world.

Microsoft might be the master of inflexibility, but unless it intends to poison XP while it slumbers, it looks destined to live on, whatever services the firm withdraws from it.

Final thoughts.

Technically, Microsoft can do list of things to try to make XP go away. None of them are desperately customer friendly, but that’s never stopped it before. However, from a totally objective position, XP is currently alive and well at least eight years after Microsoft marked it for death, when it launched Vista.

 
From a totally objective position, XP is currently alive and well at least eight years after Microsoft marked it for death, when it launched Vista.

From a totally objective position, XP is currently alive and well at least eight years after Microsoft marked it for death, when it launched Vista.

If anything, to paraphrase Friedrich Nietzsche, the more times Microsoft tries to kill XP, the stronger it appears to get. The reality is that XP will carry on running on millions of computers around the world until none of those computers work and you can’t buy hardware you can install a valid license on. That could be a very long time, and ten years from now I’m sure we’ll still see the odd XP system in use, maybe even for longer than that.

The problem that Microsoft never actually confronted was that what people use computers for 98% of the time, XP did more than acceptably. That makes justifying an upgrade problematic, and the incremental nature of Windows versions hasn’t really delivered a killer reason to ditch XP yet, even after three subsequent releases.

Microsoft’s single minded intentions to rid itself of XP might also be somewhat short-sighted, because it’s making an assumption about its customers that it’s supported by the sales of PCs. It wanted XP dead and buried to help sell Vista, and then Windows 7 and now Windows 8. But that statement assumes that when you ditch one version of Windows you automatically move to another, and that’s no longer a guaranteed conclusion.

 It wanted XP dead and buried to help sell Vista, and then Windows 7 and now Windows 8. But that statement assumes that when you ditch one version of Windows you automatically move to another, and that’s no longer a guaranteed conclusion.

It wanted XP dead and buried to help sell Vista, and then Windows 7 and now Windows 8. But that statement assumes that when you ditch one version of Windows you automatically move to another, and that’s no longer a guaranteed conclusion.

What Microsoft may be doing is encouraging its customers to leave Windows entirely, buy a tablet and not look back. It’s worth remembering that an XP customer is still that, a customer, even if Microsoft spent their money a decade ago. They still have the potential to buy Office and other Microsoft products with their old OS, unless you move them off Windows.

If Microsoft converts an XP user into one that uses an Android tablet, then he’s not going to be guying Office or nay of Microsoft’s PC –based tools.

There’s an element here of throwing the baby out with the bath water, and those in charge at Microsoft do appear to be thinking like it’s 1995.

If I were XP, I wouldn’t take all Microsoft’s efforts to write my premature obituary to heart, because on 10th April of last year it ended mainstream support for Vista, and in 2015 it’ll do the same for Windows 7. Windows 8 currently has until January 2018, with extended support ending in 2023.

Microsoft’s failure to elegantly deal with the longevity of XP may turn out to be one of the reasons that will be given for its ultimate decline, and it also points out that creating an OS that’s ‘stable, usable, and fast’ can come back to bite you at some point.

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