Microsoft Windows XP: 10 Years Old but Still Matters

NEWS ANALYSIS: Microsoft’s Windows XP is still the world’s top operating system with 45 percent market share worldwide. Why does XP continue to matter to so many?

Microsoft Windows XP. You remember the operating system, right? It€™s the one that Microsoft launched in 2001 with high hopes of improving security and productivity across the consumer and enterprise markets. Although it got off to a bit of a rough start, with some help from a couple service packs, the operating system quickly became a favorite of people around the globe. Windows XP became such a popular operating system, in fact, that more than 10 years later, it€™s still the world€™s top operating system with 45 percent market share, according to NetApplications.

Such success is surprising in the technology space. Companies like Apple and Google need to launch new products every year to keep customers interested. But Microsoft has found a way to maintain sales even as the product ages. It€™s perhaps a testament to Windows XP€™s quality and Microsoft€™s unique ability to become a must-have partner for people and companies around the world.

But how did this happen? Why is Windows XP still so important to so many? Is it the product€™s design? Is it the affordability factor? Why does Windows XP still matter?

1. The enterprise is still using it

The enterprise is the most important stakeholder when it comes to Windows adoption. If the corporate world likes a respective operating system, it€™ll adopt it in droves. If it doesn€™t, it€™ll ignore the software. In XP€™s case, the enterprise adored the software. And in many instances, companies are still using it. Until that changes, Windows XP will still matter.

2. It€™s all about compatibility

Following that, it€™s important to point out that companies across the globe have spent serious cash on software and accessories that work with XP. Unfortunately, many of them might not work with other, newer operating systems. Windows XP mode in Windows 7 is a good start, for most companies, sticking with the single operating system that supports everything is important.

3. Consider emerging markets

Although many consumers are buying Windows 7-based devices, folks in emerging markets are getting into the PC game with Windows XP. The nice thing about Windows XP-based devices is that they€™re affordable and can work well on less-powerful computers. That€™s extremely important when it comes to XP adoption in emerging markets.

4. The economy plays a role

With the economy still struggling to make a comeback, many consumers just aren€™t interested in buying new computers. So, they€™re taking extra care of their old XP machines and making sure it lasts until they can invest in a new PC. Until that changes, don€™t expect XP to lose ground to other operating systems.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...