Dropping Windows XP Is the Wrong Move at the Wrong Time

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-07-13 Print this article Print


5. Vista should come first

If anything, Microsoft should stop supporting Windows Vista. The predecessor to Windows 7 is arguably one of the worst operating systems the software giant has ever released. And although Microsoft tries to say that it really wasn't as bad as some folks thought, most Windows users know the truth. Whereas Windows XP was a major victory for Microsoft in the software space, Vista was a failure that the company is still trying to overcome. If it were smart, Microsoft would support XP and Windows 7. If it absolutely needs to stop supporting an operating system, it should ditch Vista.

6. It's still being installed

How Microsoft can even consider stopping its support for Windows XP at any point in the near future is incredible. The operating system isn't being adopted as much as it was a few years ago, but there are still some consumers and even enterprise customers that are buying new computers and running Windows XP. The reason why is simple: They trust XP more than they trust some of Microsoft's latest operating systems. As more people download XP, it would seem that Microsoft would be smart to back off from its desire to stop supporting XP entirely. After all, XP's market share is holding steady. And to stop supporting it means Microsoft will leave a major piece of the market out in the cold.

7. Security implications

There are real and concerning security implications to Microsoft's desire to stop supporting Windows XP. When Windows isn't updated, those who run outdated software put themselves in undue risk. And by doing so, they're effectively putting the rest of the Windows ecosystem at risk. But when Microsoft decides it will no longer support a software version that is being used by nearly half of the world's PC population, it's Microsoft that could be creating more security problems. Hackers will target those still running XP and find ways to make those problems spread. It's a real issue that Microsoft must consider.

8. Pushing isn't the best idea right now

The last thing Microsoft should be doing right now is annoying Windows XP users. When the company released Vista, it was clear that Microsoft was in trouble. Consumers and enterprise customers didn't want any part of the operating system, and even vendors took issue with it. Now, Microsoft is trying to rebuild relationships. By stopping support for Service Pack 2, and eventually discontinuing its support for Windows XP, Microsoft is going about it all wrong. Whether it likes it or not, the market is still heavily invested in Windows XP. And if it wants to see them adopt Windows 7, it will need to be patient. It won't be easy, but it's the smart move.

9. IT manager push-back

Let's not forget that IT managers play a key role in the success or failure of Windows. As the tech experts at their business, they tell the executives what operating systems and software solutions the company should be using. By discontinuing support for Windows XP Service Pack 2, and eventually Windows XP, Microsoft is forcing the average IT manager's hand. That's not a smart move. IT managers will decide if companies should opt for Windows 7, stick with Windows XP or go with something new, like Mac OS X. Microsoft shouldn't want to annoy IT managers simply because it wants users to move to Windows 7. That will never be a smart move.

10. Windows 7 isn't a profit leader

For the time being, Windows 7 will not be the key to Microsoft's success. Although the company hopes to add more Windows 7 customers going forward, it's highly unlikely that a mass influx of users to the new operating system is coming anytime soon. Realizing that, Microsoft can't simply rely on the new operating system, and turn its back on all others. Yes, Vista was a mess, but Windows XP wasn't. By eventually stopping support for XP, Microsoft is putting all of its revenue potential into Windows 7, an operating system that that has shown some early success, but so far hasn't proven that it can best Windows XP.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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