Everyone has talked about it, yet we maintain our own unique perspective around Windows XP end of life. All kinds of crazy stats are still floating around about the disproportionately high rates of workstations that still run Windows XP. I still see the default Windows XP screensaver on displays in restaurants, in hospitals, and in offices across the US. We know that making a change in these environments is expensive at many levels, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t time for XP to go.
Particularly with growing privacy concerns and the rise of large scale security breaches and data theft, using any unsupported software is an unnecessary risk. When the largest retailers with modern, well-supported systems are getting hacked, what position do you put yourself in by running a platform that is unsupported?
While I think we will see XP linger for years into the future, lots of our customers are pushing hard to escape the old paradigm and get their migration projects done. Fortunately, we have created tools to help customers easily realize their business objectives of updating their endpoints. We also increasingly see customers getting into maintenance mode with Windows 7, supporting only small numbers of Windows XP users, if any at all.
Life after XP
We can learn a lot about the future of computing by looking at Windows XP. In short, when you have a stable platform you don’t need to make frequent changes. All of the change happens to applications and data. Also, with the rise in cloud delivery models and “continuous deployment” the conventional model of monolithic migration will become increasingly antiquated even at the OS or platform level (although provisioning and refresh will always be a challenge). This is already the norm with mobile operating systems and with SaaS applications.
Not a single instance of Windows XP remains in day-to-day use our company. Our organization has standardized on Windows 8, though we have a number of people who use Windows 7 and IT supports both.
Prevailing opinion suggests that the rise of tablet computers is making the desktop metaphor of the PC irrelevant. However, we have observed that in a hybrid environment, like Windows 8, most of our people tend to default to the traditional Windows desktop simply to be productive – they have found that it is less easy to be fully productive at work from a tablet interface.
No one really talks about the start menu. Most of us move even faster, and I personally find the user experience more pleasurable, without it. A couple of us with hybrid devices use touch, but sparingly, in tandem with keyboard and mouse.
Windows XP end of life
Ultimately, mobile and tablet are ideal on-the-go. But it is an unacceptable compromise to abandon the productivity of conventional PC input at work. We are seeing the industry respond to this with hybrid, convertible, and 2-in-1 (and even 3-in-1) devices that meld not only consumption and input form factors, but complement the hardware design with multiple operating systems (like Windows and Android on the same device). These capabilities help close the expectation gap in device continuity between work and home. Modern operating systems make this possible. In this regard, we are glad to see Windows XP entering its twilight.