Should or shouldn’t Microsoft patch the IE flaw?

Several headlines can be found across the web which are designed to create fear that Windows XP is now unsecure – and rightly so, it is. What isn’t fair are the articles accusing Microsoft of being irresponsible for not releasing a fix despite announcing support will end months in advance.

It also isn’t Windows, Microsoft’s core product, which is at fault for this particular exploit – it’s Internet Explorer. Pointing the blame at the OS is only designed to further damage a product which is already under enough scrutiny.

Windows XP was released 12 years ago. That’s a long time to support an OS and, if anything, Microsoft should be praised for keeping it so up-to-date and trusted by businesses worldwide that it’s still so widely used.

But alas, here lies the issue. Is it now more damaging for Microsoft to leave Windows XP machines unsecure and have further brand detrimental headlines thrown about? Or should they stick to their guns and hope that upgrades to at least Windows 7 – if not 8 – will happen sooner rather than later?

Not everyone is sold on Windows 8. It’s a radical change which – although improving – takes a lot of getting used to and does not function in the same respect as previous releases. This leaves Windows 7 which most will agree is much like XP in terms of usability – only faster and more secure.

Windows 7’s mainstream support ends January 13th, 2015. However, it will still receive essential security updates through extended support up until January 14th, 2020.

The OS was released in 2009 which means its mainstream support will have been six years – compared to the eight years Windows XP received. Microsoft should extend the mainstream support by a couple of years to make it look a more enticing option to those still sitting on the fence.

It’s either this or continue to risk the Windows brand and market-share. If I was working in an IT department, Ubuntu would be looking a very promising option right now. Free, secure, supported, and although it’s quite different from XP – I’d argue it’s not as difficult to pick-up by the average user as when Windows 8 was first released. Put it this way, my mother uses it.

So no, Microsoft shouldn’t update XP. The company should however work on doing what they can to make Windows 7 a more enticing option – then continue to fix-up Windows 8 and move it from a platform with unrealised potential, to just a fantastic platform.

Do you think Microsoft should patch Windows XP? Let us know in the comments.

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