Microsoft Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don’t Continue Support For Windows XP

In four months' time, Microsoft is set to cease all support for Windows XP, an OS it released on October 25, 2001. At that time, Intel's Pentium III was the hottest processor series on the planet, and NVIDIA's GeForce 2 Ti had been released just weeks earlier. The biggest hard drive at the time? A premium-priced 80GB. To call Windows XP "old-school" seems appropriate.

Still, despite the OS being a relative dinosaur in OS years, much of the market still sticks with it. Earlier this month, we relayed some OS usage stats from Net Applications' latest update. There, we found that Windows 8.1 has been gaining in the charts, while at the same time, XP continues to demand over 30%. That's quite significant; there have been three major Windows releases since XP.

At this point, Microsoft is in a sticky situation, one where no matter which route it takes going forward, it's going to face a bit of backlash. If it ends up extending the EOL support for Windows XP, then those who felt convinced to upgrade will be upset when they realize they didn't actually have to (at this point in time). Countering that, if Microsoft does in fact cease support, then it's effectively leaving a major chunk of its userbase insecure, where future discovered vulnerabilities for the OS would remain unpatched.

Of course, it's not so much home users that are clinging to Windows XP, but businesses. As is common, businesses don't upgrade often, because when they do, it can result in a lot of retraining and upgrades to other software. It's obvious, then, why many businesses want to hold off for as long as possible, because upgrading = $$$.

Still, there's something to be said about the fact that the OS is a staggering 12 years old. Shouldn't that be enough for consumers to accept? No one paid for infinite support, after all, and Microsoft has already extended the EOL deadline by 2 years, which many have considered pretty lenient. Still, with so many hanging onto XP for dear life, we can't help but wonder if Microsoft will change its stance at some point within the next four months.