How the Death of Windows XP Affects You

February 14th, 2014 | Articles, Hiring Resources, Job Search | No Comments »

Death of Windows XP

Everything comes to an end and Microsoft has finally decided to pull the support plug for Windows XP and Office 2003. It’s been a long time coming but the numbers of companies, manufacturers, and consumers who have clung to these old-fangled iterations prevented the inevitable. In the eyes of these users, an upgrade wasn’t worth the change. But when is it too long to linger on efficient but outmoded technology?

A thriving anachronism?

Windows XP has lived to a ripe old age for an operating system. As of June 2012, Windows XP still controlled a 43 percent share of the market and these days, it’s hovering around 29 percent. That’s huge for an operating system that predates cloud computing, smartphones, and even 3G internet. And it’s not just Microsoft home PC users who have been stubborn holdouts: a surprising chunk of the business world has kept this classic OS afloat.

Whether they know it or not, a large chunk of the population interacts with XP supported products daily. Surprisingly, 95 percent of ATMs worldwide are still chugging along on Windows XP. Most utility providers run the day to day logistics of power grids, water supply systems, and other essential hubs on a Microsoft OS that borders on being 13 years old. On top of that, countless private companies will become vulnerable once April rolls around and Microsoft stops releasing patches. So why the hold out?

A reluctant goodbye

Businesses, government agencies, and personal users have stuck with Windows XP because of its functional reliability. It’s no Linux but it’s better than most of the other Microsoft alternatives. Vista was more or less reviled by much of the general public, Windows 7 has received mixed reviews, and Windows 8 hasn’t made much headway into the hearts of the coveted tablet audience.

Frankly, some companies are satisfied with this predictable technology but that security blanket will be stripped away soon enough. Christ Dodunski, CTO at Phirelight Security Solutions, said to CBC News, “ultimately, if you’re running critical software on an architecture that has security flaws in it, you’re eventually going to be bitten.” And without the anti-venom of security patches and malware shields, a company on XP could succumb to the poison.

So, it might be an unwanted upgrade facing the fans of this antiquated system but it’s cost-effective in the long run. A shift over to even Windows 7 from XP could save companies $700 a year in support and increase productivity by 7.8 additional hours per employee. That change can bring an influx of revenue to the upgrading company and any solution providers that can give dusty and disheveled IT infrastructures a tune up.

by James Walsh

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