Saturday, November 9, 2013

Microsoft to End security updates for Windows XP

Microsoft is doing its level best to get Windows XP holdouts to upgrade to a newer operating system. No new patches will arrive after April 8, 2014, and now the company is pondering cutting off antivirus updates at that point, too.
That means if you’re using Security Essentials to protect your Windows XP system from malware, you’ll be doubly exposed.

Google has announced that it’ll keep updating Chrome after that, but again, that’s just one app. Windows XP will no longer be secure, and nothing that Google does to Chrome will change that. Other companies that develop antivirus software may continue updating their apps, but that won’t guarantee protection for XP users running unpatched after April 8 either.

Microsoft would rather focus its efforts on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. It’s been looking after Windows XP since 2001, and it really is time to move on. Mostly, anyway. High-profile Microsoft partners will still be able to get their hands on patches for Windows XP, but it won’t be cheap. The company does provide custom solutions for customers that need fixes for software that’s past its “best before” date.
Theoretically, then, you may be able to get your hands on Windows XP updates after April 8, 2014 but it’s not going to be easy — and Microsoft won’t be making it any easier. In six more months it might finally be time to bite the bullet and purchase a new machine running Windows 8.1 — or at least a used one running Windows 7 which has a few more years of support coming.

According to NetApplications, Windows XP still has a significant desktop market share. In fact, it has more market share than Windows 8. NetApplications reports Windows XP has 31.4 percent share. That compares to 46.4 percent for Windows 7, 8.9 percent for Windows 8 and 4 percent for Windows Vista.

With an estimated 500 million systems in use today running Windows XP, they're soon going to become easing pickings for cybercriminals.

People don't like to hear that. They've invested in Windows XP -- maybe way back in late 2001, when it was first released -- and their consumer laptops continue to run just fine, thanks very much. Many businesses large and small, from neighborhood dental and medical facilities all the way up to Fortune 1000 firms, have invested in software, embedded systems or heavily customized applications that only run on XP or Internet Explorer 6. They don't want to pony up for new hardware, OS licenses and replacement applications. Furthermore today's economic climate stinks and to top it off, for the majority of would-be users, Microsoft has failed to make Windows 8 sexy.

Furthermore, XP continues to be widely used, thus making it an attractive target. As of October 2013, 31% of all PCs still ran Windows XP, putting it in second place behind Windows 7 (46% market share), but ahead of versions of Windows 8 (9%), Mac OS X (8%), Vista (4%) and Linux (2%), according to By the end of 2013, reckons Gartner, there will be 1.63 billion PCs, which puts the Windows XP install base at about 500 million units.

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