It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Windows 7′s birthday, and now we’re being told to start etching a more sobering date in stone:
April 8, 2014: The Day Windows XP Dies
Service Packs 1 and 1a were retired back in 2006. Service Pack 2 rode off into the sunset last month, on July 13. And Service Pack 3 will be retired along with all editions of Windows XP on Patch Tuesday, April 8, 2014.
It’s true that this date has been pushed back twice, but this might be the actual end of the line, as both Eds point out, that at this juncture, Microsoft will almost certainly be handling at least 4 generations of Windows. The SKU count (i.e., the available flavors of Windows) enters dangerous territory:
- XP has Home, Professional, Starter, Media Center and Tablet Edition, as well as the 64-bit editions.
- Vista has Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Vista Business, Vista Enterprise and Vista Ultimate.
- Windows 7 has Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate, and Thin.
I’ve harped on this a lot in the past, but in a bid to maximize profits, Microsoft has littered the market with far too many Windows product versions, or what the company calls SKUs (for “stock keeping unit,” retailing term). And while we can try to dumb down the conversation by explaining how, in any given market, customers only have two or three or four choices, or whatever, the fact remains: One version is not just enough, it’s optimal from the customer point of view. Just ask Apple: It offers just one version of Mac OS X. It’s called Mac OS X. Not Mac OS X Media Center Edition or Mac OS X Arbitrarily Limited Edition. Just Mac OS.