CHROME DISCONTINUES SUPPORT FOR WINDOWS XP: WHO STILL USES XP?
Google has announced that it plans to discontinue support for its Chrome web browser for users of Windows XP and Vista. Starting in April 2016, Google will no longer provide software updates and security patches for Chrome to XP and Vista users, though the browser will continue to function on these operating systems. Google cites the end of active support by Microsoft as well as the increased risks of using an outdated operating system as guiding its decision to discontinue support: “Such older platforms are missing critical security updates and have a greater potential to be infected by viruses and malware.”
Official Microsoft support for Windows XP ended in April 2014 but the company continued to provide updates to its security software for XP users. In July of this year, the company stopped providing antimalware signatures for Microsoft Security Essentials running on XP, leaving the antivirus software out-of-date. Microsoft has been adamant that “Any PC running Windows XP after April 8, 2014 should not be considered protected as there will be no security updates for the Windows XP operating system.” However, there is still a significant subset of users on XP, including companies and government agencies running legacy applications that would be difficult to migrate to a new operating system, gamers who fear their favorite games won’t run as smoothly on a new OS, or those simply put off by the dynamics of later versions of Windows. Windows XP users still account for approximately 12% of the operating system market share and Vista users for about 2%.
Windows XP remains a popular operating system for institutions such as the US Navy, which pays Microsoft approximately $9 million a year to keep supporting the program. According to CNN, the Navy plans to complete a Windows upgrade by July 2016. The Guardian recently reported that the UK government is still running XP on thousands of computers in a variety of operational settings. Furthermore, many ATMs are still operating on Windows XP and as reported by PCWorld, “Despite ATM vendors like Wincor-Nixdorf warning that the operating system exposes ATM operators to significantly higher security and legal risks, migrations to new systems are going slowly.” It’s important to note that some institutional users of Windows XP utilize the software as part of an embedded system, particularly as it relates to Point of Service kiosks or ATMs. Depending on the Windows Embedded package, these users may receive support from Microsoft, at their own cost, up until 2019.
If you’re a home user still running Windows XP and intend to continue using it, Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware antivirus program is still available for the 32 bit version of the operating system. Web Companion remains available for all versions of XP.