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Microsoft drops Windows XP right into the Antivirus vendors hunting ground

Windows XP has been officially discontinued for over a month now, yet 30% of the market share is still hanging on to it. The question is... what’s keeping users from switching?

Word on the street has it that antivirus vendors McAfee, Symantec and other major names have been planning on cashing in big time on this dangerous trend, and who can blame them? 30% is a big slice of pie, and everyone in the software security game is ready, fork in hand, promising to keep every Windows XP user safe and sound, “for as long as it is technically feasible”. No need to be a software engineer to know what that means.

The truth is, antivirus software companies are not into this for the long haul, because there is only so much you can do to patch a system that’s already obsolete. Backward compatibility is a losing game that ends with a company’s inability to sustain the raising costs of allocating engineers resources better spent on developing and supporting applications compatible with newer systems.

Let’s do some math

Let’s say that withholding an upgrade to Windows 8, or at the very least, windows 7, as well as keeping that 5 years old Presario nice and shiny at the front counter, saves about $300 to $400. While it might sound like big money in the pocket of the small to mid-sized business owner, that amount will eventually need to be reinvested into a multitude of little expenses, just to keep the old machine running, without a shred of guarantee that those $80 per year spent on antivirus software protection will make up for the multitude of security flaws, backdoor exploits and general instability issues that is the Windows XP/Internet Explorer 7 combo. That’s right. No guarantee, legal or otherwise.

With all the luck in the world, the average Windows XP system can last, duly protected, up to maybe six months to a year before the vendor of choice will quietly and slowly begin phasing out the process of updating security patches.

After that, it’s a crapshoot with an estimated cost averaging $1500 per computer, which only gets more expensive every year. Adding up the numbers is easy:

  • Is your Windows XP system connected to your front counter point of sale?
  • Is your stockroom inventory run on a Windows XP system?
  • Is your internal archives, office documents, clients database and more sensitive information stored and administered on a Windows XP computer?
  • Is your Windows XP systems connected to the Internet?

If any of the first four answers is “yes”, then the answer to the last question is not “yes”. It’s “I’m losing money.”

Windows XP, aside from being a security nightmare, lacks all the basic cloud functionality, secure data sharing capability and true multitasking that is native of newer systems running Windows 7 or Windows 8.

In order to enable Windows XP to achieve a fraction of the tasks native to a newer system, a huge array of third party applications is required, not to mention the expense of training staff, and hiring an IT expert to handle basic front counter troubleshooting.

Stop wasting money, and upgrade to Windows 8

The cost of upgrading is negligible. The advantages, incomparable.

The cost of completely replacing your existing Windows XP systems with brand new hardware and software, in the form of the most amazing convertible laptops, tablets and mobile devices, is incredibly affordable, and there is no comparison between the power, speed and versatility of a brand new system running Windows 8 and Office 365, versus a four-year-old, slow, unstable and obsolete Windows XP system.

Antivirus software companies understand this very well, which is why it’s important to realize the futility of trying to hang on to Windows XP.