Windows XP has had a good run. It was released on October 25, 2001. Oddly enough, Microsoft plans to unveil Windows 8 on that same date here in a few short weeks. There is no question that Windows XP was a raging success. Compared to earlier versions of Windows, XP was simply a much more stable workhorse. It kind of reminds me of the old Volkswagen Beetles. Those old 60’s and 70’s models are still running the roads today. Though Windows 7 very recently took the top spot away, XP was certainly a testament to a well designed and flexible system. Did it have flaws? Of course it did, but it worked and quite frankly, I believe it worked pretty darn well. Unfortunately, there is a time and a season for everything under the sun and XP, I am sad to say, has run its course. If you’re like me, you’re probably not completely happy about this because from a business productivity standpoint, Windows 7 just doesn’t offer that much more than XP did. Windows 8 is probably going to be a lot of fun for tablet users, but I don’t see it doing for business what XP did. However, 11 years is a long time for a car to run and 11 years is an awful long time for an OS to run. That has been a major problem for Microsoft whose Windows 7 OS, until recently, was essentially competing against its older brother XP. Why is this a problem? First of all, Microsoft exists to make money. Second, you can’t exist as a business with no cash flow. Now I do realize that Microsoft has other products, but they have lost significant revenue over the years due to the fact that they just couldn’t get users to switch from XP.
Google Driving the Nail
All this being said you would think that Microsoft would be the one pounding the final nail in Windows XP’s coffin. The first major sign that XP started dying on the vine was when Internet Explorer 9 was released but wasn’t supported on Windows XP. As it stands however, Microsoft does intend to support Windows XP until April of 2014. Just don’t expect anything significant to be developed for it. The odd news however, is that a recent announcement by Google may be the final nail in the coffin for XP. Here’s a tidbit from their recent blog post:
Internet Explorer 10 launches on 10/26/2012, and as a result, we will discontinue support for Internet Explorer 8 shortly afterwards, on 11/15/2012. After this date users accessing Google Apps services using Internet Explorer 8 will see a message recommending that they upgrade their browser.
This is truly an interesting move on Google’s part and the timing may really play in Microsoft’s favor. Don’t get me wrong, Google is no doubt being opportunistic here. They began the aforementioned blog post with the bragging point that Google Chrome browser automatically updates itself to the most recent version so you never have to worry about things like this. Their timing is impeccable. As any successful business person knows, timing is everything. Now this policy is not something new. Google posted the following in June of last year:
As of August 1st, we will discontinue support for the following browsers and their predecessors: Firefox 3.5, Internet Explorer 7, and Safari 3. In these older browsers you may have trouble using certain features in Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs and Google Sites, and eventually these apps may stop working entirely.
With this information in mind, I am not going to sit here and accuse Google of some evil scheme, nor am I saying that they are in cahoots with Microsoft by trying to force XP users to make the switch. However, the unintended consequence of this may just be that users will finally clue in that it is time to say goodbye to XP.