By Tom Ogg
Microsoft has announced that on April 8th, 2014 it will no longer support Windows XP. This means that the operating system will become a hacker’s field day.
Given that there are still some 500,000,000 Windows XP users (or almost 30% of all computers in use), it is difficult to understand how Microsoft can even consider making this decision. Given that 95% of the world’s 2.2 million ATMs still use Windows XP it is quite easy to see what Microsoft’s abandonment of the operating system effect could be.
People continue to use Windows XP, as subsequent Windows operating systems just haven’t been as functional as XP. The successor to XP was Windows Vista, a monumental failure that never rose to the minimum level of acceptability. Today’s Windows 8.1 is not at all compatible with an older XP machine and frankly, Microsoft has a long history of abandoning their customers with absolutely no regard for the customer’s outcome as a result. I believe that it is time to make a change. If you visit Microsoft’s website regarding the termination of support for XP, here are the solutions that they offer.
1. You can try to upgrade your Windows XP machine to the new Windows for $199.
2. Purchase a new Windows PC starting at $249.
Are you kidding me? This is where you must make some decisions. But first, here is a definition that I think comes into play:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Sure, you can buy a new Windows Machine, Microsoft Office and other Microsoft products and spend a ton of money so that Microsoft can continue to post profits. But why would you when you know that it is only a matter of time until Microsoft will discontinue support for your software, or introduce new software that will not be compatible with your old Microsoft products. A great example of this is the elimination of compatibility with FrontPage when Microsoft introduced Expression Web.
Also, the transition from Windows XP to Windows 8.1 is like learning Chinese. There are virtually no similarities in the two operating systems. Your learning curve will be quite steep and of course, you already know what kind of support (or lack of) Microsoft offers.
So what is the solution to the termination of viability of Microsoft XP? Here are my recommendations
Move over to a Mac. Sure, a Mac is going to cost a lot more than a Windows machine, but like a Porsche costs a lot more than a Pinto, you just get more. Since you are going to have to learn a new operating system anyway, why not learn one that actually works? Macs are just not plagued with the problems that all Windows operating systems have. You are not going to have to worry about the myriad of virus, malware, adware and other attacks that you do on your Windows machine. You Mac comes with iWork, which is basically the same tools as Microsoft Office and even saves files in the native .docx, .ppt and xls MS Office formats so that they are compatible.
Apple has retail stores all over the United States that offer unlimited training on their operating system and software. When you purchase your new Mac you also get “Apple Care” which makes the training available in a small group environment. When you do have a problem with your computer, you make an appointment with the “Genius Bar” and one of Apple’s technicians will work with you to resolve it at no charge. Free training and support? What is that worth to you?
While you pay more for a Mac, you get a lot more and the kind of product and service that you wish Microsoft would offer.
If you cannot afford a Mac there is another excellent option that you have. You can buy a new computer (or use your XP machine) and simply download “Open Source” aka “Free” software including an operating system. One of the most popular is Ubuntu (www.Ubuntu.com). Ubuntu comes with an Office like product that uses all of the Microsoft Office extensions so that it is completely compatible. Best of all, Ubuntu is completely FREE. There are numerous OS within the open source movement and they are all excellent.
Open Office (www.OpenOffice.org) is a complete open source office product that is as robust as Microsoft Office and is also absolutely free for you to download. Open Office uses all of the Microsoft Office extensions.
Whatever you decide, I hope that you see Microsoft’s move to stop supporting Windows XP for what it is. Folks paid billions of dollars to purchase XP with the expectation that it would work properly for the life of their computer. Microsoft’s move is simply to try to get 500,000,000 people to buy more of their products at a time when they are losing market share. I, for one, am done with Microsoft entirely.