Japan Shows How the Imminent Death of Windows XP Can Render Windows — and by Extension Microsoft — Obsolete in Government
Summary: Some data points which show how Windows, Microsoft’s common carrier, is declining on the desktop side and the server side
A lot has been written and said about the consequences of Windows XP coming to an end in the sense that it’s no longer fit for use in a regulated environment that demands patching of all software. Some computers store or process sensitive information not about the user, which makes the user or his/her employer ripe for lawsuits upon security compromises, where the plaintiff can allege neglect. This is why businesses and governments are slower to upgrade and need compelling technical reasons to upgrade, only after thorough testing. This is why many of them still use Windows XP. Vista 8 is not an upgrade, it’s a failed experiment.
In less than a year Microsoft will pull the plug on Windows XP, leaving many businesses and governments not in a dilemmas but under legal imperative to move to a newer operating system. It need not be Windows. Speaking very generally, Microsoft’s security failures gave it utterly bad reputation that, putting business abuses and crime aside, led few managers to putting Windows on Web-facing boxes. Web servers are one area where Microsoft is well behind and UNIX/Linux reign. Based on market share estimates from Netcraft, Microsoft continues its slide to the bottom. As Pogson put it: “In Netcraft’s latest survey, M$ is down to 11% of active sites surveyed and 12.3% of the million busiest sites. Interestingly, the former number is off 1% and the latter, off 1.3% in the last month.”
Moreover, notes Pogson, the government of Japan will retire many computers that run Windows XP, which is a malware magnet with or without patches. As this one report [via] puts it: “On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end support for its XP operating system which is still installed on one-third of PCs in Japan. After that date, the company will no longer provide corrective updates should any security flaws be discovered, meaning users will be more susceptible to risks such as information theft and leakage. Though local governments are moving ahead with replacement plans, “cost concerns” and “worries about human error” are weighing heavily on some municipalities as talk of strategies including simply unplugging vulnerable machines and duct taping their ethernet ports becomes worryingly common.”
Windows-running desktops as well as desktops in general suffer a decline in relative importance. Legacy hardware that ran Windows XP sooner or later will rot. We are living through the age when Windows became unwanted not just on devices and the Web but also on workstations. █