July 12, 2011, 12:04 PM — Microsoft made a key announcement yesterday – one it makes during every Windows upgrade cycle that indicates it has moved beyond the development portion in which it tries and fails to make the new OS an easy upgrade from the old and the part in which it tries to convince customers that it succeeded.
Actually, there are two announcements designed, when delivered together, to create a sense of optimism about the upcoming version of Windows and a sense of urgency about getting off older versions.
The urgency comes from the announcement that Microsoft's support for older operating systems – Windows XP in this case – will end soon, so users should get a move on and migrate to the current version so they can more easily migrate to the next version, which will arrive about the time the next version is ready.
Microsoft doesn't like Windows XP anymore, mainly because users did like it enough to stick with it rather than migrate to Windows Vista.
Now that Microsoft has sold more than 400 million licenses for Windows 7, it's confident enough to start pushing XP off the table, even though there are still twice as many XP machines in use as Windows 7.
Microsoft will only provide free, routine security support for Windows XP for another 1,000 days, according to a blog by Stephen Rose, IT community manager for the Windows commercial team.
"Wouldn't it be great if the glory days lasted forever," Rose asked (in what is either a rhetorical or a ridiculous question, depending on if you're a realist or a rhetoretician). "But reality is trophies get dusty, records are broken and what it took to be the best ten years ago just isn't enough for today's standards."
Darn right, Stephen. You can't stop progress.
Especially when "progress" means spending to upgrade all those XP licenses to Windows 7 (or Vista and then Windows 7), just to be ready to make the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 simpler when the time comes.
Microsoft designed the upgrade to Windows 7 to be simplest for machines running Vista, which could do an install-in-place on an existing machine, at least for some versions of Vista.