Do you remember what you were doing almost twelve years ago in the autumn of 2001? What were you listening to on your portable CD player? If you were an eager technology early-adopter, you may have just replaced it with the new Apple iPod Music Player promising “1000 songs in your pocket” thanks to it’s state-of-the-art 5 Gigabyte hard drive for storage. While Apple changed our relationship with music forever on October 23, 2001, the personal computer was about to enter it’s new modern-era with the release of Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system 2 days later on October 25, 2001.
This is the first blog post in a series about the importance of understanding technology’s life-cycle as well as when to ask when is time to update and adapt to change to ensure business continuity.
While much has changed in the world of computing since late 2001, a good portion of computers around the world still run on Windows XP today, nearly 12 years later. According to Netmarket, in July 2013, 37.19 percent of all computers were running Windows XP. Only Windows 7 is higher at 44.49 percent, followed by Windows 8 (5.4 percent) and Windows Vista (4.24 percent). Tom’s Guide reports on estimates that in July 2006 there were approximately 400 million copies of Windows XP in use as the personal computer transition began from standalone, word and number-crunching terminals to Internet-connected gaming, multi-media and communication machines.
The successor to Windows XP, called Windows Vista was launched in 2007 to mixed reviews from users and critics alike. The release of Windows 7 in 2009 was much more successful with Microsoft having learned that too much change too fast will drive users away from adopting new products. Microsoft has recently focused on the Windows 8 release, which builds on the foundation and success of Windows XP and Windows 7, while embracing the shift from mouse and keyboard that began the personal computer revolution to the world of touch screens devices including tablets, smart phones and eReaders.
Microsoft recently announced it will end support and updates for Windows XP on April 8, 2014, which means no more security updates, bug fixes and software patches. Supporting, updating and securing an older system, especially one as prevalent as Windows XP is a major undertaking. It takes significant resources, time and money not only from Microsoft but from all software developers and hardware vendors that create products designed to be compatible.
What this means for you is that in less than a year any computer running Windows XP will no longer be secure against existing and future virus and malware threats. Even with up-to-date anti-virus software running on a Windows XP computer, it may be vulnerable at its core. Additionally, new peripheral devices such as printers, scanners, hard drives and cameras will likely stop shipping with drivers compatible with Windows XP. In the not too distant future, new peripherals will no longer work on your Windows XP computer.
In my next blog post in this series, I will explore what this April 2014 Windows XP cutoff date means for you and your business. I will also discuss and dispel some concerns and fears that continue to prevent approximately 40% of businesses from upgrading to a newer operating system today.
Source photo from Bill Gates here