As the deadline for Windows XP’s expiry is getting closer, Microsoft is doing everything it can to make people aware about the shortcomings of the soon to be retired operating system. Come April 8, the decade old operating system may cause “serious problems” to businesses, Microsoft wrote in a press-release.

A lot has changed in the past decade since Microsoft launched Windows XP and Office 2003.” Microsoft representative Kaitlin Monnahan writes. “Hardware is less expensive, devices are smaller, operating systems are faster and mobile phones are smarter than ever. In addition, the way we work has changed as well – we’re more mobile and more social in the workplace today than ever before,” reads the press-release.


Microsoft released Windows XP way back in 2001, and even today, 13 years later, according to the data received from StatCounter, 21% users are still running it (noteworthy to mention that NetApplications, another service which measures OS market share estimated 27% XP users last month). Microsoft wants these people to bid farewell to XP and the decade old Office 2003 and move forward to relatively modern operating systems and pick a new productivity suite. As of April 8 2014, Microsoft will stop providing security support to both Windows XP and the productivity suite Microsoft Office 2003. Windows XP is a pretty vulnerable operating system as it is, and without the critical patches the operating system will become a playground for hackers and other vicious agents on the internet.

The problem with Windows XP is that the operating system is so popular, it has become ubiquitous. Banks, Post-offices, an ample share of organizations are still banking on the decade old operating system. In countries like India, the situation is even more pronounced. Banks, ATMs, educational institutions are yet to switch to a newer operating system.

Microsoft pinpoints on how using old technology can harm a business. “According to a recent survey of more than 1,400 consumers, one way customers evaluate a business is by the technology it uses. In fact, nearly two-thirds said that a small business is outdated if its operating system or desktop computers are 5 to 10 years old.”


Small businesses are worried about growing their business. Modern technologies, like Windows 8.1 and Office 365, give small businesses the ability to work smarter, grow their customer base quicker and be more profitable,” said Thomas Hansen, vice president of Worldwide SMB at Microsoft Corp. “Today, technology enables small businesses to compete successfully with larger competitors. In fact, a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group shows that tech-savvy small businesses created new jobs two times faster and grew revenues 15 percent faster than those using less up-to-date technology.

The software giant warns the users that by continuing to work with older and out of order operating systems and office suites, they are running a huge security risk. Besides, the users are also missing out on the new apps and services that Microsoft offers on its more modern platforms. Using old software and hardware will take a toll on the workflow as well, and may produce bigger bills.

Despite all its efforts, Windows 8 and 8.1 haven’t achieved the success Microsoft was hoping for. While both the modern operating systems are being criticized by desktop users, there’s no doubt it is indeed faster, more secure, and brings along a plethora of useful features.

Only yesterday, Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott revealed that Windows 8.1 Update 1 will be releasing on April 8th. Incidentally, it is the same day when Microsoft will pull the plug on Windows XP. Windows 8.1 Update 1 is expected to make the operating system simpler for keyboard and mouse users. Among several new features it brings along, it is being said that the operating system will be lighter on the machine.

In the past, we predicted how hard it will get Microsoft to kill Windows XP. And while, there are ways you can still keep running the operating-system, it is really time you made the big switch.

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Manish is an Engineering graduate in Computer Science but spends more time in writing about technology. He has written for a number of Indian and international publications including BetaNews, BGR India, WinBeta, MakeTechEasier, MediaNama, and Digit magazine among others. When not writing, you would find him ranting about the state of digital journalism on Twitter.