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It might be a bit of a coincidental surprise, but 10 years ago, two of the most influential products from bitter rivals over the past decade were unveiled just 48 hours apart— the iPod and Windows XP. The iPod aside, Windows XP is a special operating system, not because it was that great, but because it just won’t go away.
I blogged earlier about the iPod’s birthday, but in this case, I’d like to muse about how and why Windows XP is still so relevant in today’s ever-changing tech landscape. Consider that XP debuted at a quiet post-9/11 event on October 25, 2001, just two days after Steve Jobs pulled the iPod out of his pocket publicly for the first time. Windows Vista followed in January 2007, only to fail miserably with end-users, helping ignite a renaissance for Apple’s Macs.
XP’s longevity is unconventional on so many levels when you think about it. Most operating systems at the time could barely last two or three years, especially when the name “Windows” was attached to them. From Windows 98, you had 2000, Me and then XP in the space of what, three years?
Why are millions still sticking to such an archaic OS? Because it still works, and because it’s considered ‘safer’ to stay put rather than upgrade. This flies in the face of the fact Windows 7 is a considerable improvement and upgrade from XP, but so many consumers and businesses would rather not make that move. Is it the price? One of Microsoft’s biggest cash cows has always been Windows licences, and if there are fewer new ones purchased, it hurts the company’s bottom line.
The truth is, XP lives largely because of what followed it — Vista. The botched launch of Vista and the subsequent PR disaster that followed made a pretty deep cut in the OS’s reputation. By the time Windows 7 came out in 2009, a lot of users figured they would just stick with XP until it was deemed safe to come out and upgrade. It’s been two years and the holdouts continue.
I don’t know if there’s a particular fact about this, but XP must be the most attacked OS in history by cyberattackers. It’s still full of holes even to this day, and heaven knows how many people out there are using infected XP machines without even realizing it.
And so, as the iPod’s anniversary was acknowledged for its impact on the music industry and the halo effect that followed, XP’s anniversary comes off like an old nuisance that won’t go away.
Do you still use a Windows XP computer? Have you thought about upgrading to Win7?