Microsoft announced the end of its long-running operating system, Windows XP, on Tuesday. “The company will no longer issue [security] patches or system updates to protect against viruses and other malware. If you run into any snags at all, you won’t be able to call Microsoft for technical assistance,” USA Today reported. Retiring XP may also affect compatibility with new equipment, such as printers.
Many are up in arms about Microsoft’s sudden abandonment of the 13 year old OS. Although Windows XP may seem outdated, USA Today reveals that it is actually the second most widely used computer operating system. “Analytics firm StatCounter says that nearly 17 percent of desktop, tablet, and console users are on XP, while Net Marketshare puts the desktop use even higher at nearly 28 percent,” according to The Washington Post. The Washington Post continues, the U.S., British, and Dutch governments regularly use Windows XP, it’s the most popular OS on computers in China, and many ATMs operate using the somewhat outdated — but previously reliable — software.
If individuals and establishments choose to continue using Windows XP anyway, they can expect their fair share of complications.
“Microsoft has said users could be six times more likely to be infected by malware — a claim echoed by third-party security firms,” Time magazine explained.
Others predict that hackers will purposefully target the operating system, knowing that it’s vulnerable.
Some, however, think it’s about time.
“Car manufacturers don’t expect their customers to be coming back after 13 years and asking for a free refit; Microsoft doesn’t either,” Forbes argued. “It’s fairly simple, times have moved on and if an operating system came out before Bluetooth or WiFi then expecting it to work with them rather than expecting to need to buy a new computer isn’t a realistic option.”
Forbes has a point. Microsoft is not the first company to pressure consumers to purchase new devices and software. After all, Apple releases new versions of iOS — with varying levels of compatibility with older devices and systems — at least once a year.