PC OPERATING SYSTEM Windows XP has reached end of life status.
Introduced by Microsoft in 2001, Windows "eXPerience" was the seventh version of Windows released by Microsoft as a convergent replacement for the short lived Windows 2000 and Windows ME, becoming Microsoft's first consumer PC operating system based on the Windows NT code base.
Windows XP was the result of two years of work by over 5,000 people and saw a major overhaul of the Windows graphical interface.
Although sales of Windows XP ceased in October 2010, the company has continued to support it. It retained its status as the most popular PC operating system in the world for a full two years after that date before finally being overtaken by Windows 7. Windows Vista, which came between the two, never came close to its level of market penetration.
Even today, as security support ends, the latest Net Applications statistics show that over 27 percent of computer users still run Windows XP, and changes made in subsequent versions of Windows have left major companies unable to migrate some key internal systems to more recent releases.
As a result, several organisations including banks and governments have been forced to sign multi-million dollar agreements with Microsoft for continued support. Last week, the UK government agreed to pay £5.5m for one year of extended support.
These updates will not, however, be made available to the general public, as Microsoft does not intend to give the rest of the world any more reasons not to upgrade.
Anti-malware firm Malwarebytes has announced that it will offer a subscription based malware protection service for Windows XP users who still refuse to migrate. A recent INQUIRER poll found that more readers will stick with Windows XP or move to Linuxthan upgrade to Microsoft's latest flagship release, Windows 8.
At last weeks Build Conference in San Francisco, the company announced a number of initiatives to make Windows 8.1 look more like earlier editions, most notably an emulator in Internet Explorer 11 that will allow administrators to allow obsolete code to run on a website by website basis to improve intranet compatibility.
The next version of Windows to join Windows XP in green pastures will be Windows Vista in 2017, but as that is only one percent of the market, it is unlikely that anyone will care, or even notice, in contrast to the pain caused by Microsoft's abandonment of Windows XP. µ
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