Did They Make Windows XP Too Good?

Microsoft struggles to get Windows XP users off their long lasting operating system. Recent campaign to remind end of support for the legacy product and encourage upgrading to Windows 8 brought back very bitter feedback to the Redmond giant.

Are people stubborn or the vendor got this all wrong? We would need to get back to the times when XP premiered to get a better picture of this. At the time of new millennium Bill Gates company was dominating the personal computer market but at the same time facing heavy criticism for millennium bug hazards as well as buggy software releases. XP indirect predecessor Windows 98 has crashed during a presentation and it remained buggy product. Its replacement, 98 Second Edition was a pretty decent release for a change and for large number of users became an actual predecessor to the XP.

At the edge of millenniums, Microsoft decided to launch two versions of personal computer operating system; one for personal use and another for business segment. This approach worked only partially since Windows Millennium Edition, ME in short was very unstable ecosystem adding another one of those buggy software ID badges to the existing collection, with codename millennium bug. Windows 2000 Professional did very well on the other hand, built on NT kernel made its way into the corporate environment. This must have been one of the most important reasons why DOS based operating systems have been dropped and all focus was now on a single project for operating system.

Windows XP received very good reception right from the beginning; had unprecedented stability, unseen in previous versions of consumer OS and was fairly conservative when it comes to hardware requirements.

With such a successful product on hand, it was no surprise that the manufacturer skipped a turn in its traditional approach of launching a new personal OS every 3 years. Instead, the product got two service packs with very significant changes to the system.

It took all the way until 2006 for a successor to be launched. Vista was one of the biggest disasters to Microsoft. While well planned and designed, it was very poorly executed with tons of bugs and very poor overall performance impression. Numerous updates and costly campaigns failed to wash initial bad impression.

Vista struggled all the way until Windows 7 was released. It managed to achieve some market success mainly because new systems were only available with Vista as well as some business adopters who had security concerns, high enough to overcome user-reluctance to upgrade. Windows 7 was a successful product although not at the scale of XP as the conditions were much different. Windows personal computer market declined thanks to smartphones, tablets and Macs eating into consumer segment.

Windows 8 is now seen mostly as a mediocre attempt for the company to catch up with mobile devices market years after failing to notice its rapid emergence. While it works well on tablets and phones desktop user experience is rather poor and looks like the vendor is slowly backing out by adding start button again. In addition, there is no straight upgrade path from XP, which would probably require hardware upgrades anyway as the releases are over 10 years apart. On the top of all that, many XP users don’t feel they’re missing anything. I’m pretty sure that many home users will keep going without updates and patches since support ends on April 8th unless Microsoft bends its policy again.1

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