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Windows XP ship date turns 10 as Microsoft fights to let go

updated 01:05 pm EDT, Tue October 25, 2011

Windows XP still top OS despite Microsoft attempts

Microsoft on Tuesday marked the tenth anniversary of Windows XP shipping by doing its best to kill use of the OS. The company's Rich Reynolds heralded the impact of XP, noting that it was there at the threshold of changes both in technology as well as in Microsoft's leadership and the ultimate rises to power for Apple and Google. Simultaneously, however, he mounted a campaign to get users to upgrade, insisting that they could "accomplish much more" with Windows 7.

In trying to make the case, Reynolds insisted that the "vast majority" of businesses were moving over and pointed to Net Applications usage share data showing that over 30 percent of Internet use came from Windows 7 in September. The same results, however, showed Windows XP with over 47 percent of use, making it still the most popular desktop OS by a wide margin.

Recent data around active use might support Microsoft's hopes for a transition. StatCounter recently showed more use of Windows 7 than XP.

The milestone still underscored an ongoing problem Microsoft has had that could undermine Windows' market share. Microsoft's three-year delay for Windows Vista and the software's hostile reception led to many deliberately holding on to XP. Overly steep performance demands, a lack of early hardware support, and intrusive security all hurt Microsoft's image. Many current home-based XP users are in China or other developing countries where a computer that would have run Vista or does run 7 would be too expensive.

While home users have been more willing to upgrade, corporate buyers have been much more reluctant. Microsoft's traditional practice of promising legacy software support at all costs ended up punishing the company when it finally had to break compatibility in Vista and 7. Some companies running apps more than a decade old have refused to move beyond XP and ended up pushing Microsoft to include a virtual machine in 7 just to let some companies run XP-native apps they claim they need.

The problem sits in stark contrast to Apple's. While it's often accused of pushing users to upgrade too frequently, Apple's constant iteration and willingness to drop legacy features when no longer seen as useful has helped get most of its users on the same page and avoid having its platform being held back the way Microsoft is now facing. Helped by a $30 price and a download-first strategy, Apple managed to get six million downloads of Mac OS X Lion in over a month, a million of which came within the first day.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. icewing

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2008

    +4

    One day..

    ...maybe they will stop needlessly changing user interface elements. I hate upgrading because I can never find anything and stumble around for weeks with every new OS. At least Apple uses a more "evolutionary" upgrade path for most user interface changes.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010

    +7

    comment title

    Re: "While home users have been more willing to upgrade, corporate buyers have been much more reluctant."

    Home users most likely "upgraded" when their 2 year old PC had a component failure or slowed to a crawl from malware (and/or anti-virus apps.)

    Corporate buyers tend to have professional IT admins who can just re-image PC disks when there's a problem. They can also swap out failed components, so they can keep their PCs alive longer than home users.

    And that means corporate buyers will be keeping XP alive for another decade or so. Bad news for Microsoft.

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Dec 2007

    +5

    LOL

    "accomplish much more..."

    Umm, well at least in my case... upgraded my gaming machine (SLI, baby!) from XP to Win7 64-bit Home Premium SP1 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot v0.9 in order to be ready for Battlefield 3 this week.

    Holy c*** what a mess. The OS is puking all over itself playing BC2 which worked flawlessly in XP!!! For me, it's quite the opposite; I'm accomplishing much less in Windows 7. Thanks, M$.

    When is EA going to actually PORT games to the Mac instead of using that POS Cider?

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -5

    @SockRolid

    Home users most likely "upgraded" when their 2 year old PC had a component failure or slowed to a crawl from malware (and/or anti-virus apps.)

    Or they just wanted to upgrade their PC, you know, like how Mac users are always upgrading their Macs (or iPhones or iPads or whatever).

    Plus, with all they saved on their cheap PC, they can afford to get a new one!

    Corporate buyers tend to have professional IT admins who can just re-image PC disks when there's a problem. They can also swap out failed components, so they can keep their PCs alive longer than home users.

    Right.... So when corporate IT departments are saying 'no' to macs, they're a bunch of sheeple who just want to hold on to their jobs and afraid of change. When it's about sticking with XP, it's how they're "professional" and know what they're doing and can get users back to work in no time.

    Couldn't it just as likely that the IT departments aren't switching because they're too lazy, or they'd have to admit to management that they stupidly authorized purchases of software/hardware that was so poorly made that it wouldn't work in Windows 7, so they blame 7 as being 'unstable' so they can stick with XP?

    Oh, and I seem to recall Lion breaking a large amount of software for the Mac. Yet it isn't Apple's fault. It's all those lazy users who don't keep up with the latest information of Apple's OS offerings and what language or chip their software was written in.

    And that means corporate buyers will be keeping XP alive for another decade or so. Bad news for Microsoft.

    Yep, sheeple following sheeple. MS should do what Apple does. Just not support it anymore. Say s**** you to your customer base and move forward, don't look back.

    Oh right, MS actually worries what it's customers thinks.

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2002

    +3

    business adoption on mac

    might improve further if users were not forced into costly migrations - I fully understand the pc user resistance - mac hardware upgrades often mean starting an orphanage for software & files - I would hardly call such an 'upgrade' when core features or functionality is lost...

    I miss QTVR authoring capability for one...

    if it ain't broke...

  1. SierraDragon

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Mar 2004

    +2

    XP ending quickly now

    MS listed XP sales as EOL a year ago, ended regular support in 2009 and is scheduled to end extended support on April 8, 2014. After a decade corporate IT is being forced to upgrade to Win 7, and reported OS usage patterns perfectly reflect that.

    Win 7 is a solid OS and IT has finally learned that the constant MS churning of Office and Win is bunk, so few of those enterprises once switched to Win 7 will have any inclination to upgrade to Win 8 or Win 9. Bad news for the existing MS desktop OS sales model: it _must_ change.

    E.g. I implemented Point Of Sale systems in various enterprises. The initial software costs, user learning costs and support costs were very high. The underlying hardware and underlying OS were relatively insignificant costs. Once the systems were up and running, ideal would be if the OS never changed; a decade being a fairly short time frame in that regard.

    Note however that one needs a solid enterprise OS to start. Win 7 does provide that, now. XP OTOH was not what I would call reasonably solid (the pesky security issue MS refused to design for) until SP2.

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