Where were you when Windows XP launched?

01 April 2013 | Marco Manuello, Windows and Device Strategy lead for Worldwide Public Sector

In its time, Windows XP was a breakthrough for companies and consumers alike. First released in August 2001, Windows XP, short for “eXPerience,” quickly became one of the most popular versions of the Windows operating system ever to hit shelves (when most software was still on CDs).

As the name implies, Windows XP was all about the end-user experience, designed to be intuitive and easy for everyday people to use, well before the consumerization of IT was part of our lexicon. It’s been nearly 12 years since the debut of Windows XP, and while it may be difficult for our customers to say goodbye to the beloved operating system, the world has changed a great deal since 2001. Here’s a quick glance at the world in 2001—back when Windows XP first launched.

  • There were approximately 1 billion mobile phone subscribers worldwide. Today, there are roughly 6 billion mobile subscribers, meaning that 75 percent of the world’s population now has a mobile subscription.
  • RIM’s BlackBerry was one of the only smartphones available, with a fraction of the features available on today’s smartphones (long before high-resolution cameras and app stores).
  • Wikipedia was created.
  • Pluto was still a planet.
  • "A Beautiful Mind" won best picture at the Academy Awards.
  • In J.K. Rowling’s all-time best-selling book series, Harry Potter was in his fourth year at Hogwarts, and the first feature film was still in production.
  • Roughly six percent of the world’s population was online. Today, one-third of the world’s population uses the internet.
  • Facebook did not exist.

With Windows XP retiring on April 8, 2014, if your organization is still using the operating system for daily business, you need to think about making the switch to a more modern operating system, built to address the realities of today’s world. More importantly, come April 8, 2014, support will officially end for Windows XP, meaning that things like security patches and ongoing maintenance will no longer be provided. This will have a major impact on your organization, as Windows XP was never designed to combat today’s security threats. So now is the time to start planning your migration from Windows XP.

The good news for government is that switching to a newer Windows operating system is a win-win proposition. According to IDC, organizations that migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7 can realize a 130-percent return on investment over a three-year period. This ROI comes from eliminating maintenance, boosting productivity, and improving your organization’s overall security posture. 

When I think about Windows XP, I often think about my family’s favorite car. It’s been a part of our history, it’s taken us where we wanted to go, it’s been reliable, and it’s kept us safe. But after a decade, its age is showing and the time has come to consider a trade-in. It can be difficult to part ways, but it’s the right thing to do for the future.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Have a question for the author? Please e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com.

Marco Manuello
Windows and Device Strategy lead for Worldwide Public Sector

About the Author

Marco Manuello | Windows and Device Strategy lead for Worldwide Public Sector

Marco joined Microsoft in 1997 after working at Informix and serving in the (West) German Army in electronic warfare. He has since worked in a variety of positions in Redmond HQ and abroad. Read more