Microsoft is reminding customers once again that Windows XP has less than a year to live until life support is switched off. The warning arrives as the Redmond company is gearing up to launch a preview of Windows 8.1 next month during the BUILD 2013 developers conference. The current warning is aimed primarily at small businesses reluctant to upgrade, but it also applies to all users still clinging to the ancient OS.
"Small businesses, we know you love Windows XP. It’s been good to you. But it’s 12 years old, and the time has come to start bidding it a fond farewell," said Microsoft's Jennifer Chen. "The unfortunate fact is that it’s out of date and support for it will end on April 8, 2014 – less than a year from now. Are you ready?"
Many may not be. In fact, many businesses and consumers may still think Windows XP will be supported by Microsoft despite the warnings. While speaking with one local retailer, the manager swore up and down that Microsoft will keep supporting the platform beyond May 2014 given that this particular chain has stores spread out across the country. After arguing back and forth with us over the subject, he still didn't get the message, and said that HP would keep Windows XP supported indefinitely.
The scary aspect of this reluctance is that this chain holds the personal records of millions of customers. Another local business we spoke to was just as reluctant about upgrading, but a quick glance at the screen showed that even security updates issued by Microsoft weren't installed. Again, like the former chain, this company holds personal records of all its customers. Imagine what will happen after April 2014.
"What does end of support mean? It means no security updates," Chen added. "No free or paid assisted support options, and no updates to online content. Using new hardware and software will become increasingly difficult and incompatible."
In 1Q13, Windows XP's market share of the OS market was 38.31 percent, following Windows 7 which commanded 44.72 percent. The usage of Windows XP has dropped to some degree over the past year, but not as much as Microsoft would probably like. In June 2012, the platform owned 43.61 percent of the market, and by December it still retained 39.08 percent. That said, Microsoft has a long way to go before Windows XP is completely out of the picture.