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Among countless products from Microsoft, it is Windows XP which lasted for more than a decade. Predictions from "technology gurus" indicate that people will continue using Windows XP for another three years. Probably this is why Microsoft has extended customer support to XP Service Pack 3 up to April 2014.
The first best-selling software from Microsoft was BASIC, a programming language. This programming language helped Microsoft make a mark in the computing field.
The first best-selling operating system from Microsoft was or rather, is, Windows XP. XP stands for 'eXPerience'. Prior to that, Microsoft released Windows 1.0 through Windows 3.1 and Win95, which gained only marginal acceptance in the market. People preferred MS-DOS at any given of time until 1998, when Microsoft released Windows 98. The look and features of Win 98 compelled users to move from MS-DOS to the Windows operating system.
After 98, Microsoft brought out more operating systems: Windows ME (Millennium) and Windows 2000, both released almost at the same time. Both failed to attract customers and failed miserably in the market.
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Birth Of XP – Beginning of A Love Affair
I don't know what compelled Microsoft to design Windows XP. Maybe the failure of both Windows ME and 2000 made the board understand that users are smart and need something that not only looks good to the eyes, but also functions properly and provides optimal results.
Also, I would like to draw your attention to the biggest mistake Microsoft made while continuing to experiment with its GUI based operating systems. It discontinued the MS-DOS line of operating systems, which if present now, would have given a tough challenge to Linux and more in addition to Windows. I guess Microsoft too thought of MS-DOS as an obstacle to the success of Windows. Anyway, that is a different story.
As far as I know, Windows XP was not built from scratch. Microsoft took the framework of already existing Windows NT (for networks), and developed it for a variety of functions – each one of which, worked "really". XP came out in October, 2001 and still runs on many computers worldwide, especially in countries outside US and Canada.
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No, I Will Stick To XP
From 2001 to 2011, has been over a decade, yet people are reluctant to move ahead and adopt new operating systems from Microsoft. After XP, Microsoft came up with two main operating systems: Vista and Windows 7. Only a small percentage of Windows users migrated to Windows Vista and those who did, found it to be highly unstable even though it had better security features. Some used it while others either reverted to XP or utilized multi-boot options for continuing Windows XP use.
I too reverted to Windows XP after using Windows Vista for a month or so. It simply did not have the kind of appeal that Windows XP had. News in 2008 reported some computer companies started offering Windows XP again instead of Vista as the pre-installed operating system.
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Micro-Tactics To Get Rid Of XP
Microsoft used several tactics for getting users to migrate to Vista and later, to Windows 7. Among these tactics was discontinuing the formal customer support for Windows XP. When it discontinued support to Windows XP Service Pack, no one seemed to be affected. There were no noticeable complaints, at least none that came into my notice. The reason could be that most people had migrated to Windows XP Service Pack 2 by the time the support was withdrawn.
When it revoked support to Windows XP SP2, Microsoft suffered a loss inmarket share as a result of public outcry. People did not want to use Vista. They wanted XP and in responce to this pressure, Microsoft resumed and extended support for XP SP2.
It was only when substantial number of people migrated to Windows 7 that Microsoft got some relief from XP lovers. It went ahead and discontinued support to XP SP2. However, it still could not discontinue support for SP3. Such was the outcry that Microsoft had to increase Windows XP SP3 till April 2014.
This time, it looks like Microsoft is confident and won't offer any more support extensions for the operating system loved and cherished by users all around the world. Confidence comes from the fact that people are slowly but steadily upgrading to Windows 7, another landmark operating system from Microsoft.
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Will Microsoft Die Fighting XP?
In my opinion, people will continue using Windows XP even after the support ends in 2014. This is because of the following factors:
- XP has everything that a computer needs. It is stable, offers ample security, is fast and supports a variety of software.
- It is easy to set up multiple-boot options to use other operating systems when necessary. The other operating systems can be Windows or Linux, Ubuntu or the like.
- XP has a decent look and easily comprehensible interface.
- It is highly configurable to suit different needs. Users can use it standalone or use it in a P2P network.
- Markets outside of US/Canada are not particularly interested in any operating system other than Windows XP.
- People and businesses in many areas, including Asia-Pacific, tend to maintain their infrastructure as such. I know a friend who still uses an x86 that is more than 12 years old.
- Another, whom I asked today while writing this piece, said XP is much cheaper than Windows 7 and also that changing the operating system would mean learning things. That is correct.
- If businesses move to Windows 7, they will have to invest in: a) infrastructure and b) training. So as long as Microsoft is offering support to service pack 3, they are not going to install Windows 7 or any other operating system.
- Last but not the least: people are so addicted, or rather used, to the looks of XP that they resist changing to any other operating system.
The love story of XP will continue for years to come. My estimate is another five years at minimum ("gurus" put it at three). As of now, Windows 7 and Windows XP make a nice combination. Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows XP would also make a nice combination on computers.
Now here is the problem: if the rumors about Windows 8 are true, there will be an outcry big enough to bring down the Windows line of operating systems. According to rumors, Windows 8 will discontinue the multiple-boot environment. This means people using Windows 8 will have to stick to it. I doubt if XP lovers will like it at all: fingers crossed!
- Screenshots taken and processed by Author
- Based on Author's own Analysis