xpIt’s the operating system that has lasted longer than any other, but Microsoft has today begun flagging that its ever-popular Windows XP has entered into the final phase of official support.

The software giant will officially end support for the 2001-era OS in exactly a year’s time on April 8, 2014. That means there’ll be no more technical support or security updates made available after this date.

Windows XP’s popularity continues to confound pundits and Microsoft alike with StatCounter still finding it running approximately 11% of computers in Australia. The company is using this as an opportunity to shuffle XP users onto something newer (presumably Windows 8).

Still, that Windows XP became as popular as it has is something of Microsoft’s own doing – it released Windows Vista. Had Vista not been so… well… let’s just call it ‘unpopular’… XP would have more likely disappeared as 95, 98, ME and 2000 had done beforehand. Up until XP, Microsoft had released a new consumer-based operating system every two years or so. But with Vista not arriving until the best part of five years later, many consumers and businesses were able to build their computing lives around a stable and well-received OS. Vista did little to persuade them to move on and XP became further entrenched.

But even in the shadow of Windows 7, XP received yet another reprieve when ASUS began launching the ultra-compact low-cost netbook range of notebook computers in 2008 – with versions of Linux. Microsoft quickly decided it wanted to plug up this potential leak of sales and reportedly offered Windows XP Home Edition licenses for as low as $15, introducing the OS to a whole new generation of computer owners. By offering it on new systems, Microsoft was hamstrung – it couldn’t afford to give Windows 7 away at those prices but it now had to keep supporting Windows XP for a decent timespan not to annoy netbook buyers.

However, with netbooks quickly fading from view and Windows 8 tablets replacing them, XP is finally reaching its end-point.



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