Giving People Money WonΓ’€™t Help Kill Windows XP

Updated on: 2014-03-23 || Source:

Windows XP will soon be retired but, for some reason, it remains one of the most used operating systems out there, with third-party stats showing that more than 29 percent of the desktop PCs worldwide are still running it.

Ok, so we have an operating system that refuses to die, plenty of users still running it, and an approaching end of support which basically means that everyone could become vulnerable overnight if an unpatched flaw is discovered.

Now it’s time to look back and see how Microsoft tried to convince users to upgrade and why all its efforts are failing to move them off Windows XP.

Ever since it announced that Windows XP support would be ended, Microsoft talked about the security risks of staying with an unsupported operating system beyond retirement with every single occasion. Obviously, it believed that users would understand the message and eventually everyone would move to a newer Windows version, no matter which one.

That didn’t happen.

The next step was to ask all executives to emphasize the risks of staying with Windows XP every time they talked publicly, so this way we found that XP is 6 times more vulnerable to attacks than Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, but also the fact that it’s slower and obviously less stable than its successors.

That pretty much makes sense since both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 boast newer technology, but again, users didn’t really care about what Microsoft was saying. Basically, most users were thinking that without any more Windows Updates, it could be enough to run an up to date security solution and stay on the safe side. Microsoft tried to make them understand that’s not the case and hoped that at least some would decide to jump ship.

That didn’t happen either.

Then, the Redmond-based software giant turned to a more aggressive strategy: it announced that Security Essentials, its freeware anti-virus product that’s likely installed by plenty of Windows XP users, would stop supporting this particular OS version on April 8. The existing installation will continue to receive virus definition updates, but no new versions will be released.

That was the moment when the majority of security vendors out there stepped in and announced that all their apps would continue to work on Windows XP for at least two more years. Of course, that was quite bad news for Microsoft, but clearly another chance for XP users to stay protected beyond April 8.

What’s more, Google announced extended Windows XP support for Chrome, so XP users can abandon Internet Explorer and switch to a browser that still receives updates on their OS version. So guess what happened with Microsoft’s strategy to intimidate users.

Nobody cared.

Ultimately, Microsoft decided to ask tech-savvy users, friends, and family of users still running Windows XP to join the effort and help everyone upgrade to Windows 8.1. Needless to say, this plan failed as well, so the company decided to deliver an update to Windows XP machines to show warnings that Windows XP support is coming to an end.

It’s the first time when Microsoft has to come down to such a decision, but at least it gave users the power to disable the notifications. And still, it was quite easy to see this coming.

Everyone ignored the warnings.

With so many people complaining that moving off Windows XP is a very expensive process, Microsoft launched several discounts for those still on XP and willing to move to Windows 8.1. First, the company offered a $50 (€36) voucher, but the offer was yesterday revamped with a $100 (€73) price cut for Surface 2 and purchases over $599 (€435).

This could clearly be a great promo if it wasn’t for Windows XP’s end of support, but once again, users are very likely to ignore this once again. It’s for a $599 or above device for God’s sake, so you still need to pay at least $500 (€365) to abandon your current operating system and move to a newer platform that has often been criticized and could require additional costs, such as training and app updates.

The bottom line is that Microsoft needs to think about this wisely and find out why so many Windows XP users refuse to upgrade. Maybe it’s the time when Microsoft needs to pull itself together and really start talking with users to determine the reason why a 13-year-old operating system cannot be killed.


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