Well, ever since Microsoft kissed XP support goodbye a few months ago, everyone still using the operating system has been in a panic. And with good reason – nearly 25% of all PC computers still use Windows XP. Remember when that came out? That was twelve years ago – I was five then and before I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Heh heh … I was so clueless back then.
Turns out, quite a few companies still use Windows XP, from doctor’s offices to restaurants and even water-jetting companies. The only company I have seen running Windows 8 was my eye doctor filling out my prescription. Naturally, I wondered why businesses would still use such old, heck, nearly obsolete tech. Why not just upgrade? Sure, it’s a few bucks and a couple of work days worth of labor, but it’s worth the trouble, right?
I did the calculations and the cost of replacing a Windows XP office with something better (like Windows 7 or 8) would cost a lot. My dad’s company sells stocks and monitors the precious metals market. The office has been running on Windows XP since they could get computers in the door. The company, at least the Coeur d’Alene office, has ten desktops running XP and monitoring the markets. Every day, my dad monitors gold and silver stock activity and gets calls requesting stock trades. To upgrade the computers would require closing the office for the day, missing out on calls and market activity for at least a couple of business days, plus upgrading each desktop system, easily costing around $10,000 for computer alone. That doesn’t account for networking costs, labor, and the revenue lost from potential business. I can understand why a company wouldn’t want to switch OS.
But at the same time, Microsoft has been clever about their marketing game. By discontinuing support for XP, XP has gone from comfort-zone OS to dangerous waters. Now, if something breaks down, Microsoft can’t help or develop a new fix. Antivirus, internet, and many programs won’t work on Windows XP. Worse, hackers will find ways around an unprotected OS and find ways to exploit people who aren’t on a new system. It’s a potential crisis.
But until a movement to abandon XP rises, or until a news outlet covers a major hacker crisis, nothing will happen. I foresee a gradual movement to a new OS, but that new system is probably going to be Windows 7 and not Windows 8 (or the rumored Windows 9). And then we’ll have this whole crisis all over again, once we’re at “Windows 14 Plus Mega DX” or whatever, and then Microsoft will cancel service for Windows 7 and there will be uproar … again.