XP user author hopes the Mayans were right in their apocalyptic predictions
Troy Media – by Geoff Major
The end of the world will come in December 2012, if the inaccurate reporting of Mayan predictions is to be believed. But some people could be forgiven for thinking the Mayans were simply two years too early with their doom mongering. Let me explain.
Last week I found myself sitting in an airport lounge, checking my diary and fidgeting in my seat: I’d just had a chat with another passenger and it left me feeling decidedly nervous.
The passenger was a gentleman named Smith (no, seriously) and he had noticed I was huffing and puffing at the frustratingly slow speed of my laptop. Mr Smith, on the other hand, was smugly typing on his iPad (his smugness was purely an invention of my imagination; I just felt I needed another focus for my frustration).
He asked “You okay? Can I help?”
“Oh I just seem to be waiting forever for my laptop to process some data. I’m wondering if it’s got a bug or something,” I answered.
A hopelessly pathetic attempt to cover-up my technical ineptitude, but hey it worked for me. It also piqued his interest.
After a few insightful questions from Mr Smith (for which I had absolutely no answers), I agreed it would probably be wise to get a technician to look at it. I also listened to him for another 15 minutes.
It was one of the most interesting conversations I’ve had in a very long time; I now know that on 8th April 2014 Microsoft will stop supporting and security patching Windows XP.
Of course, those in the know are already moving away from XP and that Microsoft stopped sales of XP on new machines. As of June 2012, Windows XP market share was at 26.2 per cent, after having peaked at 76.1 per cent in January 2007 but, according to netmarketshare.com and Mr Smith, that still represents 870 million users worldwide. It’s a daunting number.
Mr Smith explained there are a number of options open to companies, large and small, but he then waved a cheery goodbye to go catch his flight (after I asked for his business card).
I know LOTS of companies which use Windows XP and they all might be au fait with the financial implications, technical obstacles and operational risks associated with the XP end-of-life date, but I then had a mini-Y2K déjà vu of late preparation and media-fuelled panic.
Will companies look at the price of migrating to Windows 7, and perhaps then upgrading to Windows 8, and simply bury their heads in the sand for now, hoping Microsoft delay the execution of XP? New 64-bit hardware will need to be added to many desktops so they are physically capable of running Windows 7 or Windows 8. Oh, and then there’s the server upgrades required if those PCs are on a network.
Now I’m in no position to say whether Mr Smith is right or wrong about the scale of the challenge that some very substantial companies may face, nor whether my tiny company is ready to consider moving its three laptops and a desk top, oozing with well-used and trusted Windows technology, to an alternative hardware and software, but it did open my eyes:
If I was unaware of the scale of the risk and investment required (because there WILL have to be an investment, one way or the other) what sort of risk assessment might a pan-European company with 100 000 pieces of kit need to do?
Perhaps more frighteningly, what other risks does my external environment pose to my future survival, and how do I ensure I’m regularly up to date with such things?
Then I paused: I vividly recall the hysteria about Y2K. I can’t help thinking perhaps this discussion about 8th April 2014 is in danger of becoming a greater issue than is really is, provided people address the question completely and soon.
I love my iPhone and maybe now’s the time to buy a Mac, an iPad, integrate it all in the ‘cloud’ and migrate to Google Apps, or perhaps I should just stay with Windows and upgrade.
Then again, if the reported Mayan prediction of the end of the world in 2012 is true, perhaps there’s time for one more pre-apocalypse coffee rather than worrying about Windows XP.
Troy Media Columnist Geoff Major founded BlueDucks Limited (www.blueducks.com) in 2001 to help business change by looking at the customer experience ‘a little differently.
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