Ten years since Windows XP hit manufacturing

Summary:It is ten years today since Microsoft rolled out Windows XP to manufacturers. Are you still using the ageing operating system?

It is ten years since Microsoft released what turned out to be the world's most popular operating system into the wild -- into the hands of manufacturers like Dell and HP to install on new PCs.

Bill Gates and Jim Allchin signed off the gold disk in view of journalists, shortly before it flew off in a helicopter to bring the brand new operating system to OEM builders.

As the ageing operating system is still used by tens of millions worldwide, holding around 45 percent share according to StatCounter, it finally dipped below the 50 percent mark last month.

Within two months of its release to manufacturing, it became available to the general public -- and copies flew off the shelves.

But one tragic event and another major blow to Microsoft hit the Windows XP launch.

With just over a month before the October 25th general availability for the public to pick up their copy of the next-generation operating system, two planes slammed into the World Trade Center on September 11th. Microsoft took the wise decision to scale down the worldwide launch party.

A group known as devils0wn, with just over a month before general release, was cracked and released into the wild. Though the key has long-been obsolete, it enabled millions to illegally pirate the disk without buying a copy.

But Windows ploughed on and continued to sell across most of the world -- and within a few years, it had become the world's most popular operating system -- peaking at 76.1 percent in January 2007.

As Windows 7, released in October 2009, still has a way to catch up as Microsoft continues to engage in disaster recovery mode after the 'Vista fiasco'.

Microsoft has sold in the region of 350-400 million copies, based on figures from earlier this year.

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Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Software, Windows

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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