Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

Summary: Microsoft really, really wants you to move to Windows 7, but you still really don't want to leave XP do you? Besides, you'd rather be using a tablet or a smartphone anyway wouldn't you?

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At long, long last, Windows XP is no longer the number one, end-user operating system. It only took, Microsoft, what? Not quite two years to get desktop users off XP to Windows 7? Well, you could look at it that way, but you'd be wrong.

The truth is that users haven't been moving from XP to 7 of their own free will. They've been moving only because their old XP PCs are finally giving up the ghost. Then, and only then, are they getting Windows 7. Or, are they? If you look closer at Net Applications' latest end-user Web statistics you'll see that desktop users are Not moving to Windows 7 in droves.

While XP has dropped to 49.69%, Windows 7 use is only up to 27.92%. So, where is everyone else? Have they finally moved on to desktop Linux!? Ha. I wish! No, while almost 10% of users are still running Vista-the poor sods-many other people are moving on to Mac OS X.

You didn't need a survey to tell you that though. All you need to do is look around any coffee shop and you can see that for yourself. In one of my own local favorite hangouts-the Dripolator in Asheville, NC--I just did a quick count and there's eight Mac laptops is use; three Windows PCs, two Windows 7 and one XP; and yours truly with my Samsung Chromebook.

What's far more telling though was the one woman who was using her iPad 2 with a Bluetooth keyboard. Two others were working with older iPads and one was using a Galaxy Tab using just their fingers. Everyone in the place, of course, had a smartphone. The phones were evenly divided between iPhone and Android models with one guy getting ticked off at his Blackberry. It's the tablet and smartphone users who are really pointing the way to the end-user operating system future.

According to a recent IDG global smartphone survey, 69% of users are now using their phones for business. Specifically, "70% browse the Internet regularly and use mobile applications. These devices are no longer limited to calls, email, and text messages as people go online from home, on the move, and in the office. When surfing the web on smartphones, respondents indicated that general and IT news are most popular, followed by social networking access."

In addition, 20% of this group, who were self-selected, tech. savvy users, already own tablets. Half of them are using their tablets for work. They're using them for "Web browsing (93%), email (84%), mobile apps (72%), watching videos (69%), and reading publications (66%)."

The world is leaving fat-client desktops, like Windows, and yes, Mac OS X and desktop Linux behind. The desktop operating system isn't going to die out, but it's already becoming less important. In the next few years, more and more of us are going to be using tablets and smartphones for both home use and business.

In the long run, the question isn't going to be "Which desktop operating system is going to be the winner?" No, it's going to be, "Which mobile operating system will be the winner." In 2021, we won't be comparing Windows, Mac OS X and Linux as much as we will be Apple iOS; Google Android; HP webOS; other Linux-based mobile operating system such as MeeGo; and, possibly, Windows 8.

"XP? WIndows 7? Those old things?" We'll say. "I don't know how the old folks ever coped with them!"

Related Stories:

Windows XP finally dips below 50 per cent mark

Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure

As Microsoft's monopoly crumbles, its mobile future is crucial

Topics: Linux, Hardware, Tablets, Software, Smartphones, Operating Systems, Open Source, Mobility, Microsoft, Windows

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  • LOL! What a bunch of BS!

    [i]The truth is that users haven?t been moving from XP to 7 of their own free will. They?ve been moving only because their old XP PCs are finally giving up the ghost[/i]

    I guess you could look at it that way, as opposed to accepting the truth.

    It's not like Windows 7 is the catalyst that gets people to [b]want[/b] to buy a new PC, right?

    Or was that the part that you skipped over and I wasn't supposed to mention?
    William Farrell
    • RE: Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

      @William Farrell
      +1
      Ram U
      • meta comment on ZDNet's UI and comment system...

        I know no one is going to read comment #234 in an interface that does NOT allow users to even view posts in the modern convention of last posted first -- but does it strike anyone else who has fought their way down to the bottom of this stack of posts that maybe if ZDNet put a little more attention into improving their clunky infrastructure and less into prodding their tech-pop scribblers into ginning up one more non-story that ZD might not be circling the virtual drain?

        Any other old-timers remember when ZD's old flagship PC Magazine fielded 500+ pages almost every fortnight?
        dogmo1001
      • RE: Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

        @Rama.NET
        -2
        bburgess66
      • RE: Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

        @William Farrell - not so much. Let me give you a couple of examples...

        1) My supervisor's wife had a laptop that died, so she was given a new laptop with Windows 7. She didn't like 7 and wanted to go back to XP, mostly because of the familiarity with XP. He had no idea how to get rid of 7 and install XP (thanks to the board's BIOS forcing ACHI mode), so I got 2 days at work to install Windows XP and a free USB floppy drive. I also convinced him to get a new hard drive for the computer, so if they ever wanted to move back to Windows 7 it would be as easy as swapping the hard drive.

        2) When my mom's PIII tower died in 2007, she ended up paying more for a new system with Windows XP Pro installed on it than she would have for the same system with Windows Vista Business. She didn't want Vista, not because of the whole stability issue caused by 3rd party hardware manufacturers; she didn't want Vista because it wasn't familiar to her.

        3) A friend my wife worked with bought a laptop with Windows 7 on it right around the time 7 was released, but she didn't like it (same reasons). So I was asked to make it a XP laptop. A hard drive swap (she wanted an SSD) and an XP installation later, and she is still a happy camper.

        4) Finally, one for the Mac haters - One other friend of mine bought a first generation MacBook Air "because it was cute". She had no desire to run Mac OS on it. I had the unhappy task of installing Windows XP using bootcamp and an overpriced external DVD drive. Again, it was the familiarity issue in play - she wanted an OS that she knew.

        So yeah, I'd say that many Windows users in the consumer space aren't moving to Windows 7 of their own free will, but instead are moving to Windows 7 because they feel they don't have much of a choice. As for me, I like 7 - not as much as Snow Leopard or Lion, but it's definitely an improvement over XP and Vista. It just wouldn't be my OS of choice while Mac OS is still Mac OS.
        Champ_Kind
      • RE: Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

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    • RE: Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

      Yeah, that's why Microsoft even now is letting people buy XP:

      http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/windows-xp-gets-yet-another-reprieve-from-microsoft/6819

      It's because 7 has done so well at replacing XP.

      Steven
      sjvn@...
      • What people? The ones from July 12, 2010?

        @sjvn@... <br>and yet here it is a year later, and I know of absolutely no-one who's taken advantage of that offer.<br><br>Have you?
        Back to the question, though - Is Windows 7 is the catalyst that gets people to want to buy a new PC?
        William Farrell
      • RE: Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

        @sjvn@...
        The user has always been able to downgrade any "professional" (non-home) Windows OS to a previous version (provided you have access to installation media). You can downgrade it to NT 3.1 if you really really want to. You could have downgraded XP Pro to NT 3.1 10 years ago if you wanted to.

        What that article was really referring to was the ability of *OEMs* to pre-install that previous version, instead of the end-user. I haven't seen too many OEMs still offering XP; maybe some mom & pop shops still do...
        PB_z
      • RE: Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

        @sjvn
        Who are you trying to confuse, seriously?

        Just because you can buy Volumn Licenses and exercise downgrade rights to XP doesn't mean it's supported.

        There are legitimite reasons for enterprise exercise downgrade with their VL and if they want to downgrade to XP without support, good luck to them

        And I don't have to remind you that they're already paid for a Full license of Windows 7. MS got their money anyway.
        Samic
      • RE: Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

        [i]I guess you could look at it that way, as opposed to accepting the truth.[/i]

        Why is he so 'definitely' wrong? That's the reason I bought one. The XP machine died.

        [i]It's not like Windows 7 is the catalyst that gets people to want to buy a new PC, right?[/i]

        No it's just stuck on there because the sheeple accept it as part of the package. Or they have to have it on there for business, like I do.

        Try not to confuse that for "love" or "reverence".

        [i]and yet here it is a year later, and I know of absolutely no-one who's taken advantage of that offer.[/i]

        Does the world surround you and your immediate surroundings? Many enterprises out there are still using XP as we speak. Some will wait until the last minute before they change.
        ScorpioBlue
      • You don't like MS so much that you took over someone else's blog.

        @sjvn@...

        http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_os.asp

        You might want to go to this website because their sample group is larger. I am going to put Windows 7 on as an upgrade. Look at it this way, no one installs Linux from any major OEM because they want to sell a PC. And portable devices cannot create content. PCs will be here for a long time.
        osreinstall
      • RE: Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

        @sjvn@...
        It's called IE6. People MUST run IE6. Why? Corporations that are STILL running legacy crap web applications that are written so horribly wrong that no modern browser will work with it. Not FireFox, certainlty not Chrome and definetly not IE7 or higher....all puke and die when running these legacy web apps that are running these major corporations.

        Just try running Deltek CostPoint or SAP over one of those modern browsers. Most financial departments in any company with 40,000 or more employees would be dead in the water. And if you try convincing those same companies to jump onto the XP Mode virtualization band wagon of Windows 7 you're in for a lot of red tape to get such a change request to move forward.

        It wouldn't matter if Windows 7 had a direct neural link interface with 3D holographic projections and could make changes to 10,000 high definition feature length movies all simultaneously while playing the star spangled banner all on a 80286 processor with 8MB of video memory.
        VRSpock
      • RE: Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

        @osreinstall@... You used w3schools as evidence that the article is incorrect. Read this part of that web page you posted:

        "From the statistics below, collected from W3Schools' log-files over a period of seven years, you can read the long term trends of operating system usage."

        The statistics are from w3schools, not for all Internet users. Most users don't visit w3schools. Most who visit it do it from the system on which they are doing development work.
        davidr69
      • Love the coffehouse sample.

        @sjvn@... It proves that posers who want to look busy with their status symbols while wasting time in coffee shops use smartphones, tablets, and MacBooks. Get one to go, walk around, see the sights, do something social, and get some exercise you nerds. Then budget some time to do what you really need to do digitally. The use case for mobile connectivity isn't about sitting in coffee shops.
        Lester Young
      • RE: Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

        @sjvn@...

        Another thing which may skew the statistics of Windows XP:

        My old machines, most of them, were converted to VMs before they died or mothballed, from Win98 on up thru Win2k SP4 to XP.

        I stopped there, not even trying to convert my one Vista based Quad CPU tower, which runs the XP VMs much faster than the older Pentium boxes did. All of the XP VMs are stripped down to 4 or 8 GB virtual disks for speed, security, and DVD archive. Since VMs have rather generic drivers, etc. the "one OS fits all" fluff can be stripped out.

        I never had a problem upgrading with service packs on a VM either, if the software demanded it.

        It was just simpler to clone entire old machines than take time and effort to reinvent old familiar wheels.

        Generic virtual machines are simpler to deal with multi booting various operating systems and SECURELY running dedicated applications, without conflicts, when using a newer CPU with solid state 'disks' and terabyte slow disk archives as host.

        If I use a Virtual browser, it will be counted as an XP box even if it running under a different OS Host. Given how easy XP VMs are to create as old machine backups, I wonder how many of them are counted as "running" now?

        I doubt that XP will die, even for decades from now, and even if no longer supported by Microsoft, if Virtual machines can continue to support it.
        seberbach@...
      • RE: Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

        @PB_z

        Is Lenove a mon and pop operation? One customer received 900 of their M70e machines in the last 3 weeks. Come with a nice Windows 7 Pro sticker and Windows XP SP3 installed on the hard drive.
        DNSB
      • RE: Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

        @William Farrell@...and yet here it is a year later, and I know of absolutely no-one who's taken advantage of that offer.

        Entire enterprises have taken advantage of the offer. My employer, a state agency, has been doing it ever since more recent versions have been introduced. We, as most state governments, don't have the revenue to replace the entire infrastructure that more recent Windows versions would require.
        Barc777
      • RE: Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

        @sjvn@...
        I have to say with all the new laptops I have ... I really really REALLY want to go back to XP
        bburgess66
      • RE: Is XP finally dying or is it the PCs it's been running on?

        @sjvn@...
        AND ...
        ie6 is the most customizable too .. sorry
        bburgess66