During the premiere launch of XP back in 2001, then Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates announced the worldwide availability of the Windows XP operating system.
"Today is a great day for PC users and a great day for the PC industry," Gates said. "With the launch of Windows XP, we are entering an exciting new era of personal computing. This powerful new version of Windows offers so much to customers -- it unlocks the full power of the PC and enables them to enjoy the best of what the digital world has to offer."
Windows XP was popular from the get-go, selling 300,000 copies in the first three days, although retailers played a part in boosting that number. As NDP Group pointed out, "At some retailers, you needed a wheelbarrow to carry away all the free hardware and software products being offered with a purchase of XP. Offers like these convinced several fence-sitters to go ahead and make the move to the new OS."
Further helping initial sales was the hype building up the release, and the celebrities that followed. The product launch event was a splashy affair in New York City that included a special welcome by New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and an appearance by television's Regis Philbin. And who could forget the commercial for Windows XP, featuring the song "Ray of Light" by Madonna. Actually, thanks to YouTube, no one will forget.
Image Courtesy of ADACT
In the two months following the debut of XP, more than 17 million copies were sold and Spiceworks cites more than 500 million copies of Windows XP are in use today.
A Lot Can Happen in 12 Years…
Takes Gates for example. Seven years after XP was launched, Bill Gates announced he would still be Microsoft's chairman, but would retire (sort of) to spend more time with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Last month, when Microsoft announced the appointment of Satya Nadella as CEO, Microsoft also announced that Gates would assume a new role on the board as founder and technology advisor.
Regis also said farewell and retired from 'Live! with Regis and Kelly' and Rudy Giuliani served as Mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001. Of course, Madonna is still doing her thing.
And next month, on April 8, Microsoft will give XP the hook and close the curtain on the product that the company claimed was "The Best Operating System Ever" when it first launched. You have to give credit to the marketing team for that one. Calling your own product the best operating system ever is a pretty bold statement.
Windows XP Worldwide Usage Continues
Recent Web data sampled by Net Applications (February 2014) showed that Windows XP worldwide use was at 33.9%, second only to Windows 7 at 45.57%. So the bold marketing worked, helped along by a couple of poorly received releases called Vista and Windows 8. XP was good enough for many users and still is, which is complicating the software giant's efforts to get users to move on.
It isn't just personal desktop computers and laptops still running XP. According to a Spiceworks study (October 2013), 76 percent of IT professionals run Windows XP on some devices today, and of those, 36 percent will leave Windows XP on at least one device as the operating system after end-of-life (EOL).
The end of Windows XP reminds me of the Y2K Bug. That computer glitch has nothing on Windows XP in terms of scaring the world:
1) The Washington Post reported that estimates of Windows XP machines run as high as 10 percent of government computers out of several million-- including thousands of computers on classified military and diplomatic networks.
2) ZDNet explains that while modern ATMs have enhanced security, 95 percent of our ATMs are still running on the archaic Windows XP system.
3) In an interview with CSO, Gartner Analyst Nik Simpson said, "Malware developers are almost certainly saving Windows XP exploits until the end of life (EOL) deadline to make them more effective."
End of Support: What Does that Really Mean?
We know the drill. It's been in the news, literally, for years. Windows XP is about to hit its End of support (EOS) milestone. Basically, this means Microsoft has set a date and when that date arrives there will be no more automatic fixes, updates or online technical assistance.
After April 8, 2014, Windows XP users will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates. Microsoft did agree to provide updates to antimalware signatures for Windows XP enterprise customers until July 14, 2015, saying the additional time would help organizations complete migrations, but Microsoft has made it very clear that it's time for the world to say goodbye to Windows XP:
"Microsoft has provided support for Windows XP for the past 12 years. But now the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources toward supporting more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences."
That's all, folks.
Vangie Beal is the managing editor of Webopedia. You can follow Webopedia on Twitter via @WebopediaTech.