Will Microsoft Screw 500m PC Users?

Windows XP Installed Base Still Huge

The big question looming on the minds of hundreds of millions of computer users worldwide is:

Will Microsoft stop providing Security Updates for PCs running Windows XP  from April 8, 2014?

Launched in October 2001, Windows XP, a PC operating system from Microsoft, is considered a reliable platform unlike some of its successors like the widely disparaged and universally loathed Windows 8.

Although tablets and smartphones have slowed down the growth of PCs, there’s still a huge mass of people that rely on PCs every day, both at home and at work.

The current worldwide PC installed base is estimated at about 1.6 billion units (source: Enders Analysis).

A recent report by market researcher NetMarketShare reveals that Windows XP accounts for 29.23% of desktop operating systems in use, second only to Windows 7 (47.49%).

Windows XP Market Share

So that gives us an installed base of 468 million PCs running Windows XP.

Since a lot of home PCs are used by more than one person, it’s fair to assume that the installed base of 468 million Windows XP computers translates into at least 500-million users.

Ending Windows XP Security Updates

Over the last year or so, Microsoft has been making much noise about stopping security updates for its Windows XP operating system effective April 8, 2014.

Microsoft has been repeatedly advising people to ditch Windows XP, a 12-year-old operating system, and asking them to upgrade to Windows 8.

Here’s Microsoft’s dire warning to Windows XP users:

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.

As a result, after April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC. Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on this date….If you continue to use Windows XP after support ends, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.

But a huge chunk of Windows XP users, nearly half a billion worldwide, have shown no inclination to heed Microsoft’s suggestion to abandon Windows XP and upgrade to a newer operating system.

Plus, the countless horror stories of Windows 8 have not helped.

Media reports indicate Windows 8 users have experienced difficulty in performing even basic tasks like shutting down their computers.

Then you also have to factor in costs.

At a minimum, an upgrade to Windows 8.1 will cost $120 (Windows 8.1 Pro version is $200).

But many PCs may not be capable of being upgraded to Windows 8.1.

So that meaning buying a new PC for $400-$800 (cost depends on memory, hard-drive capacity, graphic card etc).

And many applications that work fine with Windows XP will not work with Windows 8, necessitating additional investments.

Now you know why many Windows XP users have ignored Microsoft’s call to upgrade to Windows 8.

Nuclear Bomb

If Microsoft keeps its promise of stopping Windows XP security updates from April 8, hundreds of millions of consumers and small business owners will be left vulnerable to viruses and all forms of malware on their PCs.

Given the growing incidence of virus and malware attack on PCs and the havoc they cause by way of ransomware, theft of personal information and loss of productivity, Microsoft’s move to stop offering security updates will be like dropping a nuclear bomb on the struggling PC industry.

Besides victimizing hundreds of millions of consumers, the move to cut off security updates for Windows XP systems will be a devastating blow to the struggling PC industry, of which Microsoft is a key part.

So will Microsoft really pull security updates for Windows XP this April?

I doubt it.

My hypothesis is that unless Microsoft wants to commit harakiri the company will have no choice but to continue offering security updates to Windows XP computers for at least another 12 months.

But hey, with a Telugu bidda, Satya Nadella, set to take over the reins at Microsoft soon, anything could happen! 😉

Vaguely Related Stories:
Instead of a Hard Reboot, Microsoft got a Minor Update in Satya Nadella

3 Responses to "Will Microsoft Screw 500m PC Users?"

  1. alphaalpha   February 4, 2014 at 12:37 am

    13 years is a long time in the computer operating system industry for Microsoft to be offering free security updates!

    Three generations of operating systems have come after that and it is actually amazing that MSoft has continued support for so long.

    In this day of diminishing customer base for Windows, I think Microsoft has to do this to wean people away from the old Windows XP.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Even if doing so screws 500 million users who in turn will pass on the malware to another 100 million?

  2. rvasam   February 4, 2014 at 2:18 am

    According to latest rumors, the telugu bidda Nadella is being given stiff competition by a younger sambhar rice madrasee Pichai Sundar, currently VP in Google. Check out:


    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Microsoft needs an outsider, I mean from outside the computer industry, to come in and shake up the company.

    Someone like Lou Gerstner who shook up IBM in the 1990s and turned it into a powerhouse in services.

    MSFT should have kicked out Steve Ballmer long back. The moron grossly underestimated Apple, particularly the iPhone.

    I doubt the two Indians (Satya Nadella or Sundar Pichai) have it in them to revive the company. These are second-tier leaders at best.

  3. Madmax673   February 14, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I am thinking about moving to Mac OS.

    But having been used to Windows so far, I wonder if the transition is going to be easy.

    Any Mac desktop with few wires?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    The 27-inch iMac if you watch movies/TV on the computer. Buy one used if you want a built-in DVD player.

    Has built-in WiFi, of course.

    Comes with wireless mouse & wireless keyboard!

    I wouldn’t sing the Mac’s paeans but any day better than Windows.

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