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Windows XP: October 25, 2001-April 8, 2014

Microsoft yesterday issued its final patch for Windows XP and Office 2003. The operating system, arguably the most popular version of Windows ever, is now officially dead (though it's still a long way from the grave). It still lives on millions of PCs and it is well documented that many of them will continue to run the dead OS indefinitely.

Because Microsoft issued the last patch yesterday, nothing bad is likely to happen imminently. It will take many weeks and months before it is clear what vulnerabilities are exploited and how severely it impacts users.

Some expect little of consequence to happen while others say those keeping their Windows XP-based PCs will face major problems. For example, Jason Kennedy, a business product marketing director at Intel, told me this week that he's concerned that many unsuspecting users, especially those with small- and medium-sized business, are awaiting disaster.

"I unfortunately expect many of the bad people who are crafting malware or identity theft opportunities have been lying in wait for some time after April 8," Kennedy said. "I do believe sometime after the deadline those attacks will be unleashed. And people will suffer. I hope it's not severe but I expect there will be problems as a result of not taking the threats serious enough and not taking steps to mitigate."

Given the obvious fact that Intel has a vested interest in users moving off Windows XP since most will have to buy new PCs (with new processors) you may take that with a grain of salt. On the other hand, no one knows what vulnerabilities will surface.

While it remains to be seen if such a dire event happens, those who've decided to stick with Windows XP have made their decisions and are ready to live with the consequences. If you back up your data, chances are the worst that will happen is you'll have to buy a new PC or some other device.

Perhaps you'll give up on Windows altogether? That's what Google, VMware and even Citrix are urging business customers to do. "Many businesses are in a tough spot," Amit Singh, president of Google Enterprise, said in a blog post. "Despite 'significant' security and privacy risks, legacy software or custom-built apps have held businesses back from migrating in time for today's XP support deadline. Companies in this position now find themselves at a timely crossroads. It's time for a real change, rather than more of the same."

Google and VMware teamed up yesterday to announce they will take $200 off Google Chromebooks for Business with VMware Horizon DaaS. The two companies last month announced a pact to bundle the two offerings and this looks to sweeten the deal. Google is offering $100 off Chromebooks for each managed device purchased for a company and Citrix is offering 25 percent off its Citrix XenApp Platinum Edition, which includes Windows XP migration acceleration tool AppDNA.

Windows XP may be dead but as rivals pick at the carcass, it's a long way from being buried.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 04/09/2014 at 1:24 PM


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