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Microsoft Ending Mainstream Support For XP 580

Posted by kdawson
from the population-inversion dept.
Slatterz writes "Come next week, Microsoft will be in the unusual position of no longer offering mainstream support for its most widely used product. Windows XP will pass another milestone next week on the road to retirement when mainstream support ends on 14 April 2009, over seven years after the OS originally shipped. While the company said that it will continue to provide free security fixes for XP until 2014, any future bugs found in the platform will not be fixed unless customers pay. Windows XP accounts for about 63 percent of all Internet-connected computers, according to March 2009 statistics from Hitslink, while Windows Vista makes up about 24 percent."
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Microsoft Ending Mainstream Support For XP

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  • by way2trivial (601132) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:14AM (#27501573) Homepage Journal

    I went to microsoft.com and looked around- I did not find the "donate now" button anywhere

    how exactly are we supposed to pay?

    • by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:27AM (#27501677) Journal

      how exactly are we supposed to pay?

      I'm not sure how the whole process works but I'm guessing that it involves bending over at some point.....

    • I'm sure you already Gave At The Office.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Jason1729 (561790)
      You pay with your soul every time you boot Vista.
    • by petermgreen (876956) <plugwash@@@p10link...net> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:00AM (#27501983) Homepage

      how exactly are we supposed to pay?
      Through the nose ;)

      Seriously you buy a volume license and then buy the extended hotfix agreement through your volume license account. You also have to pay for the individual fixes on top of that. MS don't seem to show prices on thier website but I doubt it is cheap.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:55AM (#27502701)

        MS don't seem to show prices on thier website but I doubt it is cheap.

        If you have to ask you can't afford it

      • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:20AM (#27503943)

        Seriously you buy a volume license and then buy the extended hotfix agreement through your volume license account. You also have to pay for the individual fixes on top of that. MS don't seem to show prices on thier website but I doubt it is cheap.

        The most interesting comparison, of course, would be how it compares to hiring J. Random Linux Hacker to work on $OLD_DISTRO.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Dextrously (1086289)

          Migrating to a different distro is typically much easier, and cheaper. I worked on a machine in 2008 that was a version of RHEL from 1999. I made a full system backup to a separate partition on the same disk, migrated it to CentOS, cleaned up dependencies, rebooted into a new kernel, then ran yum to update CentOS. After that, it was just a matter of time taken to download updates for each release up.

          It really involves a bit of research, I spent about 2 hours reading release notes before actually starting

      • As you know, it's worse than you say.

        The Slashdot story is excessively pro-Microsoft, in my opinion. Quoting the Slashdot story: "... over seven years after the OS originally shipped..." That gives a much more positive impression than is warranted, in my opinion.

        Windows XP had very serious problems until the release of Service Pack 2. So Windows XP release version is only 4 1/2 years old [microsoft.com].

        Service Pack 3 fixed many, many, many bugs that Microsoft itself called "critical". So the final, fully usable version of Windows XP has been available less than a year [microsoft.com]. A year of good use is not much in return for 6 years of numerous cases of grief and hassles and huge maintenance expense.

        Vista was an attempt to get people to abandon Windows XP. Vista was first released about two years ago.

        So, one version of the Windows product, Windows XP, was not fully finished until more than a year after the next version, Windows Vista, was first sold, although Windows Vista was so unfinished that it was rejected in the marketplace.

        When the version of Windows called Windows 7 is released, many people will be buying their third version of the Windows OS in only two years, even though one of the versions, Vista, was never finished.

        That's product churning.

        Sooner or later the average buyer will realize that they don't need Microsoft's pushy "upgrades", which all must use much more CPU power, because Microsoft's real customers, the big computer hardware manufacturers, want everyone to buy new hardware. Microsoft is trying to continue creating an artificial market, and the average buyer is becoming more aware of that.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by vux984 (928602)

          Service Pack 3 fixed many, many, many bugs that Microsoft itself called "critical". So the final, fully usable version of Windows XP...

          Is still to come? Its not like SP3 has solved all the bugs. So its not 'final' yet.

          Of course, I'm still waiting for the final usable version of Ubuntu come out too. They've been fixing critical bugs and releasing new alliterations every few months for years now.

          At the end of the day, windows software has evolved over time, and the distinction between version numbers, which r

        • by dhavleak (912889) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:32PM (#27512665)

          • The Slashdot story is excessively pro-Microsoft
          • Windows XP release version is only 4 1/2 years old
          • Service Pack 3 fixed many, many, many bugs that Microsoft itself called "critical". So the final, fully usable version of Windows XP has been available less than a year
          • Vista was an attempt to get people to abandon Windows XP
          • Vista, was never finished.

          +4, Interesting... Wait, What??? That nonsense gets modded +4, Interesting??? Only on slashdot man, only on slashdot.. Let me tell you how it actually works:

          The Slashdot story is excessively pro-Microsoft

          The tone of an MS article doesn't matter. They're 95% negative, sometimes they're full-on FUD, and sometimes they're just anti-MS pr0n, but in any case they're just there to induce mass hysteria and foaming at the mouth. People (sorry, sheep) just need to be reminded who their enemy is from time to time.

          Windows XP release version is only 4 1/2 years old

          Maybe I should show you a sales chart of the 3 years you're missing. What do you think people thought they were buying? Do you think they were clamoring for ME or 98 over XP? Try to recall what the state of the art was at that time. Try to recall even what state linux was in at that time, and the fact that MacOS had just finished dying and OS-X had just recently been born. Recall that Firefox wasn't even Phoenix at that time (and Mozilla was still a bloated beast with all the cruft from Netscape still in it). At launch, XP's only legitimate competitor was Windows 2000 -- unless you're on slashdot, in which case Win2k was a dismal failure as well.

          Service Pack 3 fixed many, many, many bugs that Microsoft itself called "critical". So the final, fully usable version of Windows XP has been available less than a year

          SP3 mostly contained a "roll-up" of critical patches that anybody with an updated system would already have. Pretty good customer service, if you ask me.

          Vista was an attempt to get people to abandon Windows XP

          Vista was the simply next step in Window's evolution. Show me some software that does not participate in the cycle of continuous improvement/evolution and I'll show you obsolete software (perhaps I'll even show you a company that's out of business).

          Vista, was never finished.

          By what yardstick? If you're using your non-sequitur logic about critical updates, then by that yardstick there has never been a finished version of windows or linux or any OS for that matter. Maybe BeOS or OS/2 are finished OSes by your logic. I'm using ubuntu 8.10 to type this, and I have a red star/asterisk in the system tray area on the top right telling me that I have critical updates available right now. Or at least it would do that if it were finished enough to display a proper toast - instead I just get an icon and no text. No - Vista at launch was light-years ahead of any desktop Linux - and it's only legitimate competitors are XP and OS-X, and Windows 7 when it comes out.

    • by artgeeq (969931) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:10AM (#27502947)
      How are we supposed to pay? Here is an example. Remember when a US senator got the bright idea of changing daylight savings time? Users of Windows 2000 had to pay Microsoft thousands of dollars for the fix. You pay by the fix.
  • Programming... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Da Fokka (94074) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:15AM (#27501589) Homepage

    Make one mistake and support it for the rest of your life.

    Unless you are Microsoft, of course.

  • Why not open it up (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RemoWilliams84 (1348761) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:15AM (#27501591)

    I wish more companies would start opening up their software once it has run out of life. If Microsoft really thought that XP was no longer going to be good enough for pc's, open it up to the community and let people learn from it and tinker with it.

    Oh... wait, it is Microsoft.

    • by plague3106 (71849) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:49AM (#27501849)

      Because while Vista may have changed quite a bit, I'm sure there's still a lot of XP code in there.

    • by cgenman (325138) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:54AM (#27501897) Homepage

      If they did this, their old XP codebase would be competing with new Vista / Vista 2 sales. Given full options, most companies wouldn't open them to the community. Most companies would erase all previous installs, burn all install disks, and sell upgrades left and right.

      Also, I severely doubt any commercial project as large as XP has the rights to open all of their code.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The problem with that is, even though XP has run out of life (or some some claim), the codebase certainly will have not for Microsoft.
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:56AM (#27501933)

      Nonono, you didn't get it. They don't want to stop supporting XP. They want you to buy Vista/Win7. There is no money in supporting systems, there is some in selling you a new one. Not to mention that they certainly don't want another "people refuse to buy $new_ms_system" PR disaster.

      In other words, "Yes, you can still get XP. But do you really, really wanna be stuck with a system that's no longer supported, hmmm? Here, look, new and shiny! Buy Win7!"

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by petermgreen (876956)

        I don't think microsofts suppport lifecycle policy for windows is unreasonable. Mainstream support (hotfixes free, bundled support incidents valid) for at least 5 years from release and at least 2 years from release of the successor. Then extended support (security hotfixes free, other hotfixes chargable, bundled support incidents not valid) for at least 5 years from the end of mainstreams support.

        They even give you two years to upgrade from one service pack to the next.

        Compare that to the support lifecycle

        • by Marcika (1003625) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:34AM (#27502359)

          Compare that to the support lifecycles of most linux distros and see who comes out ahead.

          Alright. Windows: Pony up $199 for Vista now and Win7 next year, or pay for each separate XP hotfix.

          Linux: Free upgrade to either a cutting-edge new distro or a year-old stable distro, free updates of each component from apache to KDE via the package manager of your choice (or you can pay for development of hotfixes as well if that floats your boat).

          I think it is pretty clear who comes out ahead.

          • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @01:36PM (#27506113) Homepage

            Linux is only free if you know how to use/maintain it.

            Let me put it differently: I didn't have to pay for my OS, but I did spend countless hours learning how to make it work for me. For Windows, most people have already spent that time, and only need a step-up to the new features and annoyances. For Linux, a far larger number are starting from scratch, and let's be honest: Linux help is rare, good help is virtually impossible to find. Google anything and you will find a million forum posts and mailing list aggregators, all repeating the same question with zero answers.

            I like my Linux desktop, as a coder it works well for me, but with so many cooks in the kitchen, a lot of stuff can and does go wrong, and the general attitude is "Well, you have the source. FIX IT YOURSELF, LUSER!".

            The motivation simply isn't there for the developers and project maintainers, because Linux won't feed your kid or put fuel in your Honda. The free software model has very real limitations, it's amazing that things have gotten this far and continue to evolve, but we're still struggling on some aspects that cannot be solved via technological means.

            • by Xtifr (1323) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @02:30PM (#27506971) Homepage

              Linux is only free if you know how to use/maintain it.

              And Windows is only $STICKER_PRICE if you know how to use/maintain it. Otherwise, it's much more expensive. So? Whatcherpoint?

              the general attitude is "Well, you have the source. FIX IT YOURSELF, LUSER!".

              As opposed to the oh-so-helpful Microsoft Support [joke-archives.com]. :)

              Granted, the MS "support" may be more polite. Aside from that, I don't see much benefit.

              (As a side note, you might want to check out Ubuntu support rather than Gentoo!) :)

              The motivation simply isn't there for the developers and project maintainers, because Linux won't feed your kid or put fuel in your Honda.

              Except, of course, for the many many many many MANY people for whom it does.

              Actually, while I'm picking on some of the more egregious parts of your post, you do raise some valid issues. Support really isn't there for a lot of people yet (although the same can be said for MS). But just like MS, Linux can develop more of its own homegrown support infrastructure--the reason MS isn't a total disaster isn't an 800- phone number that directs to India. The reason is the number of people who more-or-less understand it and help each other. Linux hasn't grown to that point yet, but it's silly to think that it can't or won't. It is, in fact, getting there.

        • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:35AM (#27502367)

          Compare that to the support lifecycles of most linux distros and see who comes out ahead.

          When MS gives me the successor of a system I use for free (or at least at a discount) we can start talking.

        • by afidel (530433) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:47AM (#27502557)
          Yep, RHEL [redhat.com] is 7 years total with 4 years general support and 3 years of extended support, SUSE [novell.com] is 5 years general and 2 years extended.
        • by QuincyDurant (943157) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:58AM (#27502749)

          No, the policy is not unreasonable in general. However, XP is the OS that works, and they have nothing that is better to replace it. And doesn't it take less money to support a solid, familiar OS than it does to support a new, flaky one?

          I don't get it. Isn't XP a cash cow?

          Does this mean MSFT engineers will no longer "talk users through" the downgrade process.

          http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9040318 [computerworld.com]

          • by King_TJ (85913) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:48AM (#27503509) Journal

            Actually, I have a suspicion that with Microsoft's way of viewing their internal accounting, XP is no longer a "cash cow" at all.

            I have no proof of this, since I'm not privy to any of their internal workings or memos - but I do see a lot of evidence to back it up.

            For example, when you call in to Microsoft to activate a copy of Windows XP by telephone, you usually just reach an automated system with voice recognition capabilities, vs. a live human. You can go through the entire process without ever speaking to a real person. (It actually asks you the famous "questions", like "How many computers is this product installed on?" and "Have there been any major hardware changes to your platform since the last time Windows was installed?", and decides if it will re-activate an existing key based on your responses.)

            Microsoft doesn't shuttle off these "anti piracy" measures to automated systems unless they feel it's only to support a "legacy product" that's no longer considered important enough to protect with the "higher level" of protection of interacting with a real customer service person.

            I could easily see where their viewpoint might be; We already recouped our costs many times over for the XP product, and most new XP buyers are only buying heavily discounted licenses intended for refurbished machines, OEMs, etc. The money spent on manpower to keep supporting it is now just a net "negative" for us, vs. focusing on Vista and Windows 7, which will command higher retail prices on many licenses sold, and which still need to recoup their development costs ASAP.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by marcello_dl (667940)

          But.. What about people who bought XP yesterday?

          Anyway the support lifecycle of linux distros is way less of a nightmare because under linux it is

          Easy to try out new iterations before deploying.
          Easy to switch to a different distro.
          Easy to work with your old hardware, usually making it faster.
          Easy to keep the applications that were working on the previous iteration, and keeping them updated.
          Easy to keep the old peripherals since drivers are not binary blobs depending on a vendor which obsoletes stuff intenti

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by andcal (196136)

          Microsoft's support lifecycle policy was reasonable, when the company stopped selling a given operating system years before its mainstream support ended. But since they were allowing the sale of new computers with Windows XP installed pretty recently, and are still selling new computers with Windows XP install disks, perhaps they should extend the mainstream support a little more as well.

          Just Sayin'

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jmorris42 (1458) *

          > I don't think microsofts suppport lifecycle policy for windows is unreasonable.

          I think it is totally bogus because it measures the time from the wrong start point. It isn't time of release it should be time when sales stopped. I don't give a rats ass when a product was introduced I care about when I bought it and so do you.

          Since this is slashdot every argument should include a car analogy. So lets suppose Ford has decided the Mustang has had a good run and announces today they are ceasing all suppor

    • by mdwh2 (535323) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:02AM (#27502007) Journal

      Oh... wait, it is Microsoft.

      And is Apple going to open source OS X 10.4 now that 10.5 is out? Can we criticise them for not doing so?[*]

      Don't get me wrong, I agree with the general principle of opening old products that are abandoned by the company. But it would be complete madness for any company to open source one of their major products, one that is still widely used. Working out how to encourage people to upgrade is bad enough of a problem as it is - but open sourcing a discontinued product would create a major new competitor for them.

      Yes, we know how the source code for Doom was released just 4 years after Doom's release, but the computer games industry moves much faster, such that in 1997, Doom was no competition for ID's new releases, nor would it provide much of a boost to anyone wanting to update it to be a competing engine. The OS market, by contrast, is fairly mature now - indeed, this is why Microsoft have so much trouble getting people to upgrade, because XP is good enough for most people.

      (Are there any examples of application software that get open sourced, OOI?)

      [*] For the pedants - yes, I know Darwin is open source, but that's not OS X.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by PitaBred (632671)
        Doom's textures and art IP is still under copyright, and it cannot be distributed. So you can get the Doom source code, but you can't get the Doom levels and such. An OS on the other hand basically has ALL of the value tied up in the code.
  • Wait.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AlterRNow (1215236) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:16AM (#27501609)

    any future bugs found in the platform will not be fixed unless customers pay

    Does that mean they will fix all the bugs that have been found in the past? No.
    Can someone else fix them? No.

    +1 for open source

    • Re:Wait.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by v1 (525388) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:33AM (#27501717) Homepage Journal

      Does that mean they will fix all the bugs that have been found in the past? No.
      Can someone else fix them? No.

      That does raise an interesting discussion... if a company is officially going to stop supporting a product that is still heavily in use, should they have an obligation to open up the source? I think so.

      Of course with xp goes an obvious problem... imagine just how much worse the malware scene would be if they had access to windows source code? (tho from the levels of sophistication seen in modern malware, it's painfully obvious they've already grown very skilled with a decompiler)

      Guessing the main reason MS would say NO is that many security problems in XP also exist in Vista/7 also due to inheritance, most of which MS is relying purely on protection from security-through-obscurity, and we all know how good a model that is. "Hmm this is vulnerable in XP, wonder if it still works in 7? well isn't that useful!"

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The source for Windows XP and Vista is available for just $20 at your friendly Russian-speaking guys. Too bad, I don't know of any torrents for it which you can get for 2000.

        Criminals do have the source for Windows, it's just you who doesn't have it.

      • "imagine just how much worse the malware scene would be if they had access to windows source code? (tho from the levels of sophistication seen in modern malware, it's painfully obvious they've already grown very skilled with a decompiler)"

        Exactly because malware writters are so good with a decompiler it won't make a huge difference for them to have the original source. Alternatively, Windows is still worse than we think, and malware writters aren't that good, but I'm more willing to bet at the first option

      • Re:Wait.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@nOSPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:56AM (#27501921)

        That does raise an interesting discussion... if a company is officially going to stop supporting a product that is still heavily in use, should they have an obligation to open up the source? I think so.

        No. No such obligation should ever exist.

      • Re:Wait.. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jimicus (737525) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:11AM (#27502105)

        I don't think we'd see drastically more malware for Windows if it were open sourced, partly because bits of source have been leaked in the past and partly because there is an upper limit to the number of competent malware authors out there.

        But the codebase for one Windows version does not stand alone. It includes code licensed from third parties that Microsoft may not have the right to open, it includes large chunks of code which will still exist in more recent versions. You don't honestly think Microsoft started out entirely from scratch when they wrote Vista, do you?

        Furthermore, if the codebase can still be maintained by someone else then that someone can simply say "Continue to install XP and we'll support you!". Microsoft are having a hard enough time selling Vista as it is, that would really hurt.

  • not really.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LingNoi (1066278) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:18AM (#27501617)

    While the company said that it will continue to provide free security fixes for XP until 2014,

    So nothing has really changed then, it's still being supported with security fixes. No one really cares about features at this point. How exactly is this suppose to move people to update?

    • by patro (104336)

      No one really cares about features at this point. How exactly is this suppose to move people to update?

      With more and more services moving to the web the average user is less motivated to upgrade.

      I rely mostly on web services in my every day computer usage, so as long as browsers are updated I don't really care what OS I run.

  • wait - stop - just kidding...
    innovation (read adoption of what the surveyed herd wants and whoever we could purchase a look from, or failing that, what apple did last quarter, visually) in windows sucks.
    The next step is to divorce the windows graphic interface from the underlying operating system, and make it a desktop for linux. Like apple. But with Linux.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:24AM (#27501657) Homepage

    There are few companies that work as hard at making poor decisions as MSFT. They fielded a loser OS at a time in computing history that they really needed a home run. To placate enterprise users and stop the bleeding in the netbook space they turned to XP at a time they should have been phasing it out.

    So now they rush Windows 7 out the door with many of the capabilities Vista should have had and they're chopping off support for XP before Windows 7 is established.

    It's not the computing world's fault MS dropped the ball on Vista but, as usual, they're making it your problem. Instead of owning up to the mistake and supporting XP until it's clear Windows 7 is an adequate replacement.

    • At this stage in XPs life, I highly doubt any end user or consuming business will actually come across any non-security related bug that they need fixing, and if they do then their vendor will probably have several customers also with the same issue, and pony up themselves (think Oracle, Sun or Novell finding a bug which affects their products - they will be the ones to approach MS for a fix and offer payment).
    • Small shop (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:40AM (#27501777)

      But for small shops, this is a win! Since MS won't support it any more, people will have to turn to small local shops instead. It should be quite a boon to them.

    • by Shrike82 (1471633) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:41AM (#27501781)

      It's not the computing world's fault MS dropped the ball on Vista but, as usual, they're making it your problem.

      People are always bashing Vista at every opportunity, but it's never caused me any problems, never crashed, has support for all the devices I wish to use and pretty much checks all the boxes I want from an operating system. I'm speaking as a software developer, before I get mercilessly flamed as being some kind of computing retard.

      Now XP, before I upgraded, would crash semi-regularly and had at least as many bugs as Vista does. I think at least some of the people critcising Vista are sheeple expressing a popular opinion without much foundation. "What's that?" you cry, "People regurgitating supposed facts without verification on /.? Surely not..."

      • by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:52AM (#27501879)

        Vista is slow to boot.
        Vista helpfully stops me running programs I want to run at startup.
        Vista takes absolutely hours to update itself.
        Vista is always telling me no, I don't have permission to do that, or to look there.
        Vista is generally annoying.

        Vista also has a couple of more geeky irritations to me as a software engineer and a linux user. But still, it runs my games OK and that's all I ask of it these days. I don't hate it, I just don't think it's that good.

        That said, you should here the vitriol and emotional reactions that come out of my none-geek family and friends. This vista hatred may have started here with us, but it's been taken to a whole new level by the general computer-using-but-not-understanding public. I don't know if that's a reflection of them buying all the media hype or if it's a genuinbe reaction to the product, but it seems that it's no longer us penguin-loving kernel botherers that are the main source of the anti-MS vitriol.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DAldredge (2353)
      What is so bad about Vista on decent hardware?
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:44AM (#27501801)

    Will there still be activation support for resetting it or will activation be turned off / hardware check be turned off?

    Will xp uses still get IE8 / IE7 updates / fixes?

    windows media player 12?

    Will there still WGA updates? .net framework updates?

    daylight saving time updates till 2014?

  • I used to work as an IT consultant, and I can't begin to tell you how many small customers I went to that were using Windows 2000, or older, Server 2000, Office 2000. I would have loved if they'd wanted to even switch to XP both OS and Office wise. Lots of people don't really look at their computers as something that ever needs to change or be upgraded. People who have hung on to XP this long probably won't be jumping off the bandwagon just because mainstream support is stopping.
  • by kenh (9056) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:12AM (#27502121) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, they've shipped a near-infinite number of Windows XP licenses, and there are millions and millions of users exercising the code, so really, what is left to "debug"? But let's be clear - you may want Windows XP to function differently, but that is not a bug, that's a preference. By now, Windows XP is a tested code base, and it has value as demonstrated by the steady stream of stories discussing the end of support for Windows XP, downgrade rights from Vista to Windows XP, etc.

  • by mirni (856020) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:22AM (#27502229)
    "Windows XP accounts for about 63 percent of all Internet-connected computers, according to March 2009 statistics from Hitslink, while Windows Vista makes up about 24 percent."

    I wonder if this makes Windows Vista the only generation not to outsell the previous one.

    -m-

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by HikingStick (878216)
      The number of installed users != the number of sales.

      Vista sales, per Microsfot's counts, have been pretty high. Those numbers don't include, however, the business customers who opted to exercise their downgrade rights and run XP. The stats presented here appear to reflect what people are running moreso than that which was purchased.
  • by heffrey (229704) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:28AM (#27502287)

    Hard to believe, but an 8 year old OS with life support turned off is still overwhelmingly preferred to Linux, OS X and so on...

  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:31AM (#27502313)

    Their real problem is that many people are satisfied with XP. There's no "killer app" or compelling reason to upgrade. If new computer purchases didn't foist Vista (or soon...Windows 7) on consumers, nobody would bat an eye if the machines came with XP instead. As long as XP continues to get security patches, I can't imagine bothering with "upgrading" in the foreseeable future.

  • A netbook question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AnalPerfume (1356177) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:35AM (#27502375)
    If Microsoft are stopping supporting XP on 14 April 2009 as reported, is it moral to sell netbooks with an unsupported (after that date) XP pre-installed? Yes they will do security fixes but will they insist on sales staff telling customers they are buying an unsupported system before they hand over cash? They like to hide the cost of the Windows license in the total purchase so the customer thinks it's free, so I don't hold much hope for their honesty.

    At that point Linux (either official like RedHat or Novell, or a community Ubuntu / Feodra / Debian / Mandriva) becomes better supported than the XP version by default. Is it legal to sell an unsupported PC? Or will Microsoft be responsible and withdraw all XP netbooks from the market on April 15th? Will they be forced to?

    It does show a company in desperation to make money, regardless of their customers wishes. When the carrot (advertising and shill PR) won't work use the stick. Any company behaving like this does not deserve any customers, and will eventually bring that to pass by it's own actions.
  • Time to move on. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rolfc (842110) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:37AM (#27502395) Homepage
    Microsoft has stopped to support XP, That's their main advantage over Linux. Now they have none.

    Vista is a failure, Windows 7 seem to be more of the same, so go with something you can buy support for after that the vendor no longer is interested in you.
  • XP will be back (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:31AM (#27503225) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft says that Windows 7 will be small enough to run on the current generation of underpowered laptops that are pretending to be netbooks. I think we can count on this being just one more feature that Microsoft ends up overpromising and underdelivering on. Frankly, I just don't believe that they can do it. They probably don't, either. When they say "Windows 7 will be small footprint enough to run on a netbook" they really mean "We're counting on our ability to strongarm the netbook vendors into fattening up their hardware so it'll run Windows 7 by the time it's released."

    Meanwhile, Linux will keep showing up in places where Windows XP can fit but Windows 7 can't. And if it's a big enough market then Microsoft will be forced to keep Windows XP running even longer.

    Microsoft just doesn't get it. There is a huge market for operating systems that just give you the brass tacks ... get a bare desktop up and running and get out of the way. Something not larded up with stupid extras. But that's not a sustainable business model for a company that still thinks that software is something that has to be bought and sold.
  • Cash cow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tekoneiric (590239) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:06PM (#27512507) Journal
    I don't understand Microsoft. MS has almost no development costs with XP anymore except what's needed to patch it and there is still a major demand for it. That makes it a cash cow. Mostly all they need to do with it is package it, ship it and let it roll the $$$$$$$ in for them. By allowing vendors to put it on computers, they don't really even have packing and shipping costs either which means even less overhead.

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