According to Ed Bott’s latest Microsoft Report (“Can Windows 8 finally vanquish the ghosts of XP and Vista” two interesting Windows phenomena will coincide in April, 2012: Windows Vista mainstream support will end, and Windows 8 will also very likely be released for General Availability (GA). Bott describes this, not without good cause, as “…an almost perfect changing of the guard.” I agree!
He then goes on to quote Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, who addressed a standing-room only audience at the Microsoft Windows Worldwide Partner Conference this week as saying, “Windows XP, Office 2003, and Internet Explorer 6 deserve a standing ovation. We love those products.” According to Bott’s blog, Turner further observed that these products have also “made Microsoft and its partners a lot of money.” After a pause for dramatic effect, he added, “But they’re dead.” Bott goes on to use this as an opportunity to identify the 300 million desktops running XP worldwide as “Zombies” that are “hard to kill.”
Even though I just about fell over laughing when I read this, there’s a profound germ of truth to this statement. XP is going to outlive Vista in all likelihood, what with extended support continuing on into 2014. His guess is that businesses will really start jumping on Windows 7 at about the same time that Windows 8 becomes available. For a couple of years Microsoft will be supporting four desktop versions of Windows: XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. I think it’s funny and sad that Vista never really got its chance, and that XP is leaning toward Zombie OS status (maybe a new category? ;-).
Whatever happens, next year should be an interesting one for those of us who work with, follow, and have to learn our way into the latest version of Windows, even as other versions still remain on the scene.