No big deal: Google supporting Windows XP longer than Microsoft does

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 16, 2013
Windows, Windows XP

We all know that the days of Windows XP are numbered, and that Microsoft will officially stop support for the operating system in the beginning of 2014 (April 8 to be precise).  What this means is that by then, no support patches will be released anymore by the company.

That does not make Windows XP a dead system the day after end of support, but it may very well make it a very vulnerable system due to unpatched security vulnerabilities.

Some of those may be mitigated with software, or not connecting to the Internet at all. It is however fair to say that it is safer to switch to another -- still supported -- operating system than to keep on using Windows XP.

Almost every tech site under the sun picked up a story that was posted on the official Google Chrome blog today that basically states that Google will support the company's own Chrome browser on Windows XP until April 2015, exactly a year after Microsoft has ended support for the operating system.

The impression that readers may get from those reports is that Google is doing this because they really want to support the XP operating system.For Google, it is great PR and many bloggers and journalists seem to have sided with Google on this one: Google good, Microsoft bad, but is this really a fair assessment?

Figure 3
Figure 3

If you look at the situation closer, you will notice that end of support for an operating system, and end of support for a product running on the operating system are not the same thing.

The most important metric for a software company are its users and which operating systems or products its users are working on. If many are working on Windows XP, it makes a lot of sense to support it at least for a while, even if the operating system itself is no longer supported.

While it is certainly also of interest if an operating system is still supported by the company that created it, it is definitely not the most important metric for individual companies.

Most companies that produce popular programs for Windows won't drop support for Windows XP the minute the operating system is no longer supported by Microsoft. Heck, I can name ten companies that still support earlier versions of Windows even though Microsoft dropped support for it. Or to take it to another level, that support older unsupported versions of Google Chrome with their browser extensions. Does that make Google the bad guy here then?

It makes sense to support a software program on operating systems that are no longer supported, provided that the user base that use the system is large enough. As far as Windows XP is concerned, it is definitely large enough.

Even if Google or other companies drop support for an operating system in the future, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot run the software on it. Much like you can run the operating system after end of support, you will be able to run most applications on that operating system after the companies that produce them end support.

You may not be able to run the latest version of an application, not necessarily, but you will be able to run the software nevertheless.

It will be interesting to see how Microsoft will tackle the situation come 2014. Will it push out notifications to Windows XP users encouraging them to upgrade to a new version of Windows due to the end of support?

What is your opinion on the matter?


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  1. Barry said on April 16, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Hey there:

    I’m just thinking, even though xp is a warhorse that works pretty well. I don’t worry at all about malware and such stuff. Doesn’t it make sense that hackers will be out in droves to screw up Win 7 and the rest. I have anti malware and anti virus installed and feel pretty secure. I personally think , even though xp is older , that Microsoft… our old friend, that even after twelve plus years , had to send out security patches etc. Wow! even after all that time they can’t get it right. So how bad is the newer versions going to be. Come on Microsoft. Maybe if you introduced something that didn’t require a million patches , Some people like myself just might consider it. But for now, I am staying with xp. Now it’s full of patches, which I have no idea whether they are effective or not.

    This Idea of computers marching on… for instance if you buy a new computer, a newer version is on the shelf immediately supposedly making your “new” computer obsolete.

    I think the fools who have smart phones and such are being sucked in continuously and rush to buy the “newer” version just to “keep up with the Jones’s” .. what a bunch of fools. Just to brag that they have the newer and greater version that blinks, buzzes, flickers and farts all by itself.

    Get real, So, do you want to do what you want to do or do what microsoft wants you to do so they can rip you off some more. Your choice.


    1. Joel said on April 16, 2014 at 9:02 pm

      You may have an anti-malware and anti-virus, but what I expect will happen is an exploit will allow an attacker to disable those before the malware is detected. Attackers may mainly target Windows 7, but what attacker can resist an exploit that they know is never going to be fixed that will work on up to 30% of Windows computers (estimated high number of people still using XP).

      As someone with IT and software development experience, I can confidently assure you that the security improvements and precautions that started in Vista and have continued all the way through Windows 8.1 have made Windows much more secure. An exploit in Vista and newer will have much less ability to cause damage than on a fully patched XP system.

      By the way, I have never seen a software product as big as Windows that doesn’t require many patches to stay secure. OS X gets security patches regularly. Linux is a very small OS with software put on top of it that needs patched (e.g. OpenSSL). Also, I have never seen any software product with a support life as long as XP; QuickBooks 2001? OS X 10.0 Cheetah? Ubuntu 4.10? How can you say Microsoft is trying to force you to upgrade “too soon” when they had the longest software support hands down?

      If you are staying with XP, I hope you make regular backups, don’t store sensitive information unencrypted, and allow for unexpected downtime. I’m not just keeping up with the Joneses; I’m replacing the lock on my door when the old one is going to be easy to pick.

  2. Ed said on December 18, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I noticed MS stopped supporting freshly installed XP, by not granting any updates at all. MS has made some changes, obviously, that prohibit me from successfully using Windows update. It really, really pisses me off since this problem was flagged here and there, but there seems to be no solution. Fuck em.

    1. Joel said on December 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      I think what you mean to say is Microsoft has stopped supporting XP with anything below SP3. You can’t expect them to support 4 versions of software that’s over 10 years old. At least you can download the standalone install of the service packs to upgrade to SP3 and get updates.

      This is if I am understanding the situation correctly. It is possible that they just dumped update support for certain conditions.

      But why are you even using outdated software that’s soon to be insecure?

  3. nn said on October 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I’m sorry if you found this off-topic, but I need to say that my Windows XP system which is installed from pirated copy and officially-unpatched-since-SP3-released-BUT-patched-and-protected-with-third-party-programs still, I thought, works fine (no signs of malware such as viruses/spyware/etc). For addendum, I understand and observe basic computer security behavior. Am I very lucky? ;D

    That’s all my ranting and sorry for my imperfect English because it’s my second language (for this, correct me if I do mistakes in grammar, vocabs, etc. ;D)

  4. IMHO said on October 19, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Been using XP Pro 32 bit for 8 years
    at our company on several PCs.
    Never any major problems with XP.

    we will NOT migrate any of our PCs in our small business,
    to ANY MS-Windows products (ie: Win8), anymore.
    It’s just too problematic to keep up,
    with all the MS security and marketing problems.
    They’ve lost it….

    we have been preparing for April 2014,
    by installing & testing Linux UBUNTU,
    in several of our PCs.
    (I’m sure Linux Mint & others Linux versions
    would have been ok, as well).

    First, we tried out the “Live CD”, (no install).

    Our users love UBUNTU,
    and it provides all the functionality they need,
    _without_ the Microsoft “Windows Update” hassles and hoops.
    And blue screens and update errors…
    We just don’t want to spend any more time and money
    with MS.

    So aufwiedersehen Microsoft,
    and their amazing OS security holes.
    And their total lack of respect for their (paying) customers.

    Everything running smoothly with UBUNTU Linux,
    and we’ll probably use UBUNTU version 14.03 LTS
    (supported until April 2017),
    when it’s officially released on April 2014…

    What a coincidence!
    (it’s the same date as when Microsoft is killing XP….!).

  5. Blue.bsod said on October 17, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    The amount of people still using XP may surprise you, and making the jump to 7 or 8 is a big shocker especially sticker price. Microsoft claimed to have sent out a special offer to all their customers (only those with active Hotmail, MSN, or Live accounts) for a low introductory price as low as $9.99 US. I have a Hotmail and a Live account, and I don’t recall ever seeing an e-mail like that.

    As for functionality of XP versus Windows 7, there are some things similar but there are a few things that are no longer supported in Windows 7. For starters the detailed information in Explorer no longer shows up, and I have yet to find a program to access it’s tagging ability. Windows Media Player can’t dock as a mini player on the taskbar. The Windows 7 version is pretty crappy and only displays song info as a bubble pop-up. If we turn the bubbles off then it will never be displayed.

    1. Claw said on October 17, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      I think a lot of software co. should support XP for a good while to come. Why ?? Money, there freeware out there that works well on XP, but most co. also have a pay or premium too which if they stop it for XP, they will lose that XP user money, especially Antivirus vendors.

  6. Coyote said on October 17, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    “The most important metric for a software company are its users and which operating systems or products its users are working on. If many are working on Windows XP, it makes a lot of sense to support it at least for a while,”

    Best words of advice to microsoft that couldn’t be emphasized more. But then Microsoft isn’t concerned with their customers, they are concerned with profits. XP stopped making money almost a decade ago, then stopped getting kickbacks from developers and top-tier support contracts somewhat more recently. They have no reason to continue support unless… they want to keep their long standing customer base happy. Unfortunately they have and always will be a bottom line sort of company and insist they know what makes the customer happy. However with the reception of 8 (and the patronizing way they dealt with 8.1) will only drive more people to look for alternatives. Had this happened 10 years ago they could have shrugged it off and let apple take the bite, but now, there are many more fish in the pond, some as big or bigger than Microsoft…

  7. ilev said on October 17, 2013 at 6:26 am

    Yes, It is a big deal, as Microsoft will stop supporting IE8 on XP as well. Wonder about Firefox support.

  8. JAJansenJr said on October 17, 2013 at 4:49 am

    I think Microsoft should seriously rethink dropping support for XP. Microsoft has prospered by providing backward compatibility, and XP was, and is, a fairly good system, deserving a better fate!

    1. Kurt said on November 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      Ich arbeite mit XP bis jetzt und habe angefangen mit DOS 1.1 auf IBM XT (oder wie hies das Ding nochmal in 1981 ?)
      Es ist so BLÖD von M$ wahrscheinlich so 2 Billionen Kunden weltweit vor den Kopf zu stossen und ihnen zu kündigen. Es ist NUR ein Betriebssystem – nun werde ich wohl mit Linux anbandeln.

    2. Joel said on October 19, 2013 at 10:43 am

      They need to be practical. How old is XP? 12 years old! Tell me of ANY other software product that has a paid team to support a version that is over a decade old and has been superseded by 4 major versions. Microsoft has already gone way beyond what any other software developer has done.

      Let’s compare with Ubuntu, probably the most popular desktop Linux distro. Their long term support releases are supported for 5 years. Even that is long in computer age.

      I don’t think anyone will disagree that Windows XP was good, but all good things come to an end. Especially when it costs Microsoft to support it.

  9. TheRube said on October 17, 2013 at 1:43 am


    I too LOVED XP very much – – until Windows 7 Showed Up!
    (XP was so my definitive choice that several years ago when the OS crashed I had purchased another computer with Vista already installed [against my will . . . thank you, Microsoft] so when that computer went belly up I went right back to XP!)

    Sad to say though (along Transcontinental’s comments) my Beloved XP is about done . . . so stick it with a fork!
    Nevertheless, I have already installed certain flavors of the Linux OS inside the XP computers of my neighbors so that they won’t have to worry about buying a newer version of Microsoft as most are elderly and can’t afford the purchase!

    They already have peace of mind with the newly-installed computers without worrying about certain issues that come with Microsoft Windows (folks have YET to call me to troubleshoot any problems they may encounter with Linux as this OS practically runs itself without unnecessary complications)!

    Thank You,


  10. Transcontinental said on October 16, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    XP will have had a very long life. I think April 2014 is a definitive limit for Microsoft, I cannot imagine any arrangement, the company has insisted, is insisting on moving on that any other attitude IMO would be a renunciation. I think the time of XP is really over, or about to be.

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