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Microsoft is doing its best to kill Windows XP, but that’s not going to happen. No matter what the company does, the operating system will live on. Here are five reasons why XP will never die.
Enterprises want XP
There’s no escaping the simple fact that enterprises have snubbed Vista, and show no signs of abandoning XP. Just a few days ago, Forrester said that a survey of 50,000 enterprise users found that throughout 2007, Windows XP use remained at a steady 89%. Vista grew from zero to 6% in that same time, but that came about because users moved from Windows 2000 to Vista, not from XP to Vista. Don’t expect corporations to switch to Vista from XP in 2008.
Small laptops and portables need XP
Small laptops, such as the Asus Eee, and the low-cost pocket devices that will use Intel’s Atom processors, simply can’t handle Vista. Vista requires too much processing power, graphics capabilities, and RAM. As Computerworld reports, Microsoft is expected to announce that it will allow these kinds of devices to use XP beyond the June 30 date the company has set for killing XP on new PCs. Sales of these devices will most likely skyrocket. So XP will be around for a very long time.
Users will wait for Windows 7
Windows 7 will most likely be here in late 2009 or possibly early 2010. Vista has been around for over a year; if someone hasn’t switched to Vista by now, there’s a good chance they’ll be patient enough to wait until Windows 7 ships. I’m actually a big fan of Vista, particularly the new interface, Aero, easier wireless networking, and other benefits. But I know that not everyone is a fan, like I am. Microsoft has spent countless millions of dollars marketing and hyping Vista, so it’s not as if people don’t know about the operating system. To date, they’ve voted with their wallets. They’re not about to change their votes.
The browser is the new operating system
It used to be that if you wanted to run the latest and greatest software, you had to have the newest operating system to run it. That’s no longer the case. Software is no longer as dependent on the underlying operating system, and so there’s less of a need to upgrade to a new operating system when new software comes out. All the action in new software and services is in Web 2.0, such as Google Docs and other online applications. You can access them no matter what operating system you use. In essence, the browser is the new operating system, so there’s no need for people to upgrade from XP.
There are plenty of loopholes in XP’s death sentence
Microsoft says that it will stop distributing XP to PC makers and retailers on June 30th. But if you read the fine print, you can see that’s not really true. Custom system builders, for example, will be allowed to still put XP on hardware until January 31, 2009. And the XP Starter Edition, which is a stripped down version of XP for emerging markets, will be around until June 30, 2010. Not only that, but those who have bought Windows Vista Business or Ultimate are allowed to downgrade to XP as part of their license agreements.
The upshot in all this? Windows XP is alive and well. Microsoft can try to kill it, but it won’t stay dead.