Microsoft Corporation announced today that extended support for its Operating System (OS), Windows XP (Win XP), is to close down permanently on April 8. According to a Financial Times story, Win XP is one of the the most popular PC Operating Systems. The support shutdown is believed to be a potential problem for those who insist on running the OS on their computers after the expiry date occurs.
The announcement came shortly after the new CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, was brought on board Thursday afternoon. Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer, who according Business Insider, retired early despite the remarkable revenues and profits the former CEO brought to the Redmond, Washington-based PC company.
The CEO selection process has been followed closely owing to the power inherent to the position as well as to the many candidates who elected to not take the helm, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek story in early February. A number of executives with CEO-caliber had been approached, among them John Donahue of eBay, Alan Mulally of Ford and Steve Mollenkopf of Qualcomm. All turned down the offer.
One of the concerns that those with an inside knowledge have told reporters following the story is that Microsoft may be too involved with its lower-end consumer products departments to embrace the emergent markets reliant on mobile and the cloud.
That all may change, however, with the announcement that extended support for Windows XP will no longer be available in early April. It could be the first of many moves to rely less on the slowly dying desktop sales and move forward into the markets that software rivals Facebook, Twitter and others are already exploring more and more.
In a February 14 story on Business Insider, it was implied that Microsoft plans to release its latest Office suite for iPad before it is released for Windows 8, the latest OS from Microsoft for PCs. While the announcement came before the newly minted CEO Nadella was announced, it was just a week prior to him being officially tapped as CEO and may have been a discussion that involved him. While it sounds unusual, it is not the first time the PC company has done such a thing.
According to a class curriculum for the New York University (NYU) Polytechnic School of Engineering, the debut version of Excel was released for Apple in 1985 as a competitor for Lotus 1-2-3. The Windows version was not released more than two years later in November of 1987. The result was that Lotus lost its popularity. Moreover, the success of Excel helped launch Microsoft into being a leader in the software field.
Perhaps the biggest problem is security. When Windows XP support is no longer available, security updates will no longer be provided. The problem is that hackers will be able to exploit the OS. Businesses that continue to rely on the soon-to-be outdated OS will risk being breached and customer data could be compromised.
But even if security is not a concern, applications that are developed may not be supported by the OS. Microsoft states that manufacturers of hardware and software will over time develop more and more of their products for supported Operating Systems. Those who insist on using Win XP will find it harder to keep up with customer needs and business-to-business aspects.
According to the Microsoft Web site, the hugely successful Windows XP will have been supported for more than 12 years when the company closes down support for it in two months.
By Randall Fleming
Follow Randall Fleming on Twitter: #BreweryObserver