Windows XP remains one of the most popular operating systems on the planet, especially for businesses that don't feel like upgrading to Windows 7 or 8. That popularity will surely continue for years to come, but Microsoft won't be along for the ride starting next year.
As per its support schedule, Microsoft announced that it's dropping extended support for Windows XP in April 2014. That means that businesses and users alike have a year to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8. Doing so will ensure that users continue to receive support in the form of security updates and patches from Microsoft.
Of course, Microsoft would love nothing more than to move more people to Windows 8. The new OS isn't doing that well among consumers (except for gamers), but a forced upgrade from Windows XP may at least push some companies into buying bulk Windows 7/8 licenses.
There are some problems with that though. In April of last year, we looked at how forcing users to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8 was going to cause some headaches for businesses that rely on Windows XP and its compatibility with older software. Upgrading to a newer OS would require more than just buying a bulk license - it would require the company to rewrite core software.
As companies plan on upgrading from Windows XP, there are some companies waiting to pounce on those unsure of Windows 7 or 8. One in particular is Canonical, stewards of the Ubuntu Linux distribution. The company has been pushing Ubuntu's enterprise capabilities for some time now, and the allure of a free OS would certainly be appealing to some.
While we certainly can't see what the future holds, we can at least look back on a good 12 year run for Windows XP. It was arguably the most popular Windows OS ever released, and it reigned during the golden age of PCs. Those days are long gone, but we can at least look back fondly at that green hill desktop that reminded us that the grass truly was greener on the other side of the personal computing revolution.