Microsoft risks even further Windows security woes by retiring XP

“Microsoft plans to ship the final public patches for Windows XP on April 8. After that, it will not deliver fixes for security vulnerabilities it and others find in the 13-year-old operating system,” Gregg Keizer writes for Computerworld.

“The result, even Microsoft has said, could be devastating. Last October, the company said that after April 8, Windows XP would face a future where machines are infected at a rate 66% higher than before patches stopped,” Keizer writes. “Microsoft has justified its stoppage of Windows XP patches by reminding everyone that it has supported the OS longer than any others, which is true: Its normal practice is to patch an operating system for 10 years. And it has argued that Windows XP is old, outdated software that is less secure than its newer operating systems: Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. Again, true.”

“The problem that Microsoft has only occasionally touched on is that Windows XP powers a massive number of personal computers around the world. According to Internet measurement company Net Applications, 29.5% of the globe’s PCs ran XP in February. Using estimates of the number of Windows PCs now in operation, that ‘user share’ translates into approximately 488 million systems,” Keizer writes. “Microsoft has never faced this situation before, with a soon-to-be-retired OS running a third of all the Windows PCs worldwide. So on one hand it’s not surprising that it has stuck to its guns, and is pushing XP into the sunset and forgetting it. But by doing that, it could hurt itself as much as the customers who end up with an infected XP system.”

Full article, in which, incredulously, Keizer attempts to claim that Microsoft even has a “security reputation” to risk, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “silverhawk1” for the heads up.]

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    1. If, as a panicked user, you were still on XP it’s probably because you had to use it at work!

      People who use XP voluntarily probably have no clue of the security implications of doing so.

      1. “ronald” — I have a friend in Nigeria who is a solicitor. He has numerous dead clients who have bank accounts that can go to overseas relatives. You should contact him to help him expedite these transfers.

      1. Hmm. So we either have a case of schizophrenia, or someone is faking solomé. Around here, the latter is probably the case. I often demonstrate how easy it is to fake being someone else around here, unless you register.

        1. solomé: register, i try.
          interpretation: solomé tried to register.

          solomé: successful, no i.
          interpretation: solomé tried to register but was unable to negotiate a consummation that was satisfactory to both parties.

          solomé: accent, it no like.
          interpretation: the registration form did not like solomé’s é

          solomé: solome taken, it was
          interpretation: solome without the accented é was unavailable

          solomé: very large sad, solomé is
          interpretation: solomé is emotionally compromised. she now has to add confusing additions of numbers and letters to her name …kinda like spock was when whats-his-name performed that unmentionable with his planet.

          solomé: happy i, derek.
          interpretation: solomé is not schizophrenic but she will most likely never reach a reasonable expectation of maturity. she was just playing in mdn’s sandbox. also, there is an attempt, pathetic though it may be, i believe, to personalize this exchange. sheesh.

          solomé: apologize, i
          interpretation: solomé is sorry for impersonating herself

          1. solomé, I’m sorry I got your name wrong so many times. I think I have it correct now, right?

            Too many people are diacritical without understanding, and I have been one of them. But now I want to assure you that you are a fresh and precious voice. Something that I myself once aspired to in my shyness, until I found my voice. Such voices bring new energy to an arena cluttered with tedious shouting matches amongst tired old men. Trust me when I say you are a life saver.

            The Colosseum is alive with excitement. Lions’ roars excite the crowd! The Emperor’s entourage precede his arrival and cast blossoms like talismans as they ascend to the box seats, in a chorus of accolades. Then the Emperor arrives amid a blaze of horns, and is royally seated. The crowd quiets as the first prisoners are ejected from the tunnel, and the games proceed.

            The first unarmed Barbarians dispatch one another with pikes and swords. The violence escalates, wave after wave, until the final two combatants face one another, chests heaving, swords red and dripping. They clash in a frightful cascade of thrusts and parries, until one falls heavily.

            The standing warrior raises his weapon and pointedly looks to the Emperor, whose brow furrows momentarily as a slight figure plucks at his toga. It is solomé. The emperor smiles and extends his arm to signal thumbs up.

            1. yes, you have it right. it’s ok. a boy back in high school used to call me salad maid. haha. but then, his brain was very small and he had my sympathies. or maybe, his hearing was not so good. oops. how strange it is to find such a forgiving voice as yours, especially when you have every opportunity to cut me to pieces for being irreverent, not to mention a half-done, tech-illiterate, shameless simpleton which, if i’m not mistaken, i just mentioned. haha 🙂

              ‘….life is being lived, at least in part, in these Internet enclaves.’ so saith hannahjs

  1. As much as people like to bash M$, it’s pretty cool that they have been providing updates to XP for 13 years.

    Too bad Apple won’t do the same for Snow Leopard (given Apple killed Rosetta with Lion and you can downgrade a new system to SL).

    1. You use “cool” as if it was out of the goodness of their hearts. In fact, they were forced to keep providing patches for XP since they’re follow-on versions weren’t compelling. Now I can’t say whether the engineers working on “compelling” could or couldn’t have worked with engineers working on patches (speaking to areas of experience), but it sure seems like Microsoft was shooting themselves in the foot by not coming up with compelling-enough releases to get people to voluntarily move forward.

        1. Dude, what you were trying to communicate was bulls__t.
          Either you din’t realize that MS was selling XP up to 3 1/2 years ago (or you did which is worse)

          Just because MS failed year after year and then finally abandoned longhorn (most all of it anyway) doesn’t count for squat. (actually is counts against them) What counts is when they STOPPED selling an OS not when they started.

          1. Tess, I happen to know Bandit Bill is no Apple troll. He sells Apple products for a living, so trolling Apple would be the last thing on his mind.

            The point that he (Bandit Bill) is making is a valid one. Apple, for one reason or another, won’t spend a dime to incorporate Rosetta support in OS X versions later than Snow Leopard forcing users to stick with it. Having said that, it is Apple’s responsibility to ensure that Snow Leopard receives timely security updates and software patches. For some, SL is not a choice, but a necessity.

            It’s not as if Apple is short of money. It’s the penny pinching attitude that sucks, especially for OS X users that have no option but to adopt Snow Leopard as the operating system. I’m sure it won’t cost Apple even a million bucks a quarter to keep SL up to date with a skeleton OS update team.

            1. TPI, there’s really no such thing as a skeleton OS update team. Let’s just figure an $85K/year salary for a software engineer at Apple. That’s a loaded cost of about $130K/year due to payroll taxes, medical insurance, etc. For your million bucks that’s about 7 engineers. I’ll venture to say the Rosetta team alone was more than 7 engineers. Then there’s the build & integration team, the QA team, the legal beagles keeping the open source licensing stuff current (and examined for changes which can really bite commercial releases). I’m sure I’m forgetting some of the folks who would be required to keep this going.

              And then there’s the technology side of things. There are gigantic changes in how Open Directory works since 10.6; gigantic changes to how apps get permission to use hardware resources; heck, even the new Timer Coalescing would through Rosetta apps into conniption fits. When you and I play around with Lion or Mountain Lion or Mavericks and think it’s pretty much the same as Snow Leopard it’s because the engineering talent at Apple has worked so hard on integration that apps “just work” the way they used to, but under the hood massive stuff is going on.

            2. Ok I retract the the troll comment, how about quit misrepresenting the facts, MS only stopped selling the software 3 1/2 years ago not 13

            3. “quit misrepresenting the facts”
              Are you referring to my comment?

              I never said M$ stopped selling XP 13 years ago.
              I said…
              “it’s pretty cool that they have been providing updates to XP for 13 years.”
              There have been updates since inception, therefore my statement is accurate.

            4. But MS has been actively selling it for 10 of those 13 years, you don’t get extra credit for legacy support till it isn’t a current product. (because they failed to brig out longhorn for 7 years and just kept selling & patching the old XP crap)

              And.. I’m sorry TPI but using that kind of twisted logic BanditBill sounds far more like one of those irrational Apple hating MS loving “nerd herd” geeks at Best buy than he does an Apple salesperson.

            5. Thanks Trevor. You are correct, I am a huge Apple fan. I now manage a sales team of Apple enthusiasts. With that being said I also keep an open mind and try to use critical thinking.

              If Apple wants to make further inroads into the business community, forcing users/companies into purchasing new hardware and software every 3-4 years isn’t the way to do so.

              Here are a few examples of Apple PUSHING it’s users in the direction Apple want them to go. Shouldn’t the choice be left up to the end user (especially when it comes to businesses).

              You can’t you purchase a Snow Leopard disk at an Apple store?

              Apple removed Snow Leopard from the Apple online store. They eventually brought it back.

              Messages (beta) worked with SL, but when it was released you had to upgrade beyond SL.

              Lion and Mountain Lion are not available on the App Store.

              Apple updates the firmware on its hardware line-up when a new OS is introduced and you can not downgrade to the previous OS on the exact same hardware.
              eg. 2011 iMacs shipped with SL, once Lion came out, new machines with ML images could not go back to SL. (at least not without hacks, and at that stability is questionable).

              If you upgrade an iOS you can not go back to a previous version of iOS.

              Final Cut… the list goes on and on.

              So yes, I think it’s pretty “cool” that M$ is still supporting XP 13 years after its introduction. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like Apple, but I don’t like EVERYTHING Apple does.

            6. Just like to add my own thoughts here for what its worth. When OSX upgraded sans Rosetta it really forced our company to migrate everything we were still clinging to based on Apple Works / Filemaker and to use stuff that was current – it was only inertia that was keeping us static but now we had no choice. It did seem harsh at the time but with hindsight I’m really glad we did it. It was then really pleasing to find that Numbers was able to convert Apple Works files – after a few tweaks here and there we were up and running in no time. Filemaker was a lot more difficult but then Filemaker is a whole different ball game.

              If we had stuck to Apple Works et al and our iMacs had started to die we would have had to migrate in any case since any new hardware would be sporting the latest OS. There were members of our team that wanted to stay as we were but It was pointed out that upgrading is inevitable these days if we wanted to avoid having incompatible documents and files so we took the plunge and we are all immeasurably better off as a result. As a benefit if any machine has to be replaced we all know everything is going to continue to work. We don’t have to get into thinking about work-arounds or force everyone down to the lowest common denominator.

              As for M$ – users ARE slow to upgrade since Microsoft tend to stagnate for several years and then suddenly lurch in new directions and very often break legacy code and render stuff incompatible – they never seem to progress down a coherent upgrade path, they always try to be too radical but only after a long period of inactivity and this makes the changes too great a schism and simply scares users away. Lots of people running WIn7 can see no point upgrading to Win8! Win users tend to settle into their world of having to maintain security patches and having to keep telling their OS where the printer or WiFi is but they are comfortable and everything is familiar. A new OS? Jeez – rather stay as we are thanks, we could do without the pain!

              Apple do tend to progress in measured steps by and large. Given that Rosetta was simply a tool to bridge legacy code to modern code it would have got to a point where maintaining Rosetta would have become such a headache Apple would have had to abandon it sooner or later. I think just cutting it out as they did was the correct decision since had they gone down a more convoluted upgrade cycle inertia would have reared its head again and people would have tended to cling to the life-boats – they would have had to jump into the water at some point.

              Regardless of whether people need to keep old versions of an OS in order to run software that cannot be purchased anymore, I think this is kidding themselves – at some point that machine WILL die and then what do they do? They get forced into an upgrade cycle all at once which can be really hard to do. Changes DO happen – best we take it as it comes, there’s really no avoiding it. Fact of life!

    2. I know basic math skills aren’t in most MS fans quivers, however basic counting doesn’t really count as math.
      Microsoft didn’t stop selling XP (on PC’s) till Oct 22 of 2010

      Now count up to 2014, did you get 4 years?
      See… I knew you you could do it
      (Its actually only 3 1/2 but well give you partial credit)

      You MS trolls are so desperate (and lame) that I am truly embarrassed, for you.

  2. From my observations, it seem the majority of health care facilities use XP – doctors, hospitals, clinics, etc. as do many schools. As much as I hate Windows, I’d support the government forcing MS to continue support. Otherwise ….

    1. From what I’ve seen visiting many small business and corporate clients, the great majority of computers used in their offices are barely above a typewriter — VERY simple word processing, data entry and data retrieval. Unless switching out of the Winblows world, there is simply no business need to upgrade them.

    2. Most XP equipped clinics require patients sign a full disclaimer absolving Microsoft of blame in the event of BSOD or forced Windows Update reboot during heart surgery.

    3. Suznick, I’m not sure what businesses you visit or what part of the country you live in, but in my neck of the woods (Portlandia) an amazing number of businesses are sporting Macs. Some are even using iPhones for taking credit cards like an Apple Store.

      And to encourage such behavior, when I go into a business that is still using Windows, I proceed to make fun of them. I ask them when they are going to retire their horse and buggy.

      You would think that most business owners would get mad when I do this, but actually they seem really embarrassed.

  3. “But by doing that, it could hurt itself as much as the customers who end up with an infected XP system.”

    Shouldn’t those users of infected XP systems be Pros at it now? Don’t see why they should be that panicked.

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