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Is Windows 9 Microsoft’s secret weapon to get people to dump XP?

Published Mar 6th, 2014 8:10AM EST
Microsoft Windows 9 Release Date

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As we mentioned earlier this week, Microsoft has a problem because a huge chunk of Windows XP stragglers still aren’t upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8 even though there’s just over a month to go until XP support ends. Tom’s Hardware writes that Microsoft does have one more card to play that it hopes will finally convince XP diehards to switch: Windows 9.

Microsoft knows that Windows 8 is a nonstarter for many XP users, which is why it’s apparently designed Windows 9 with the desktop user much more in mind. The company began its efforts to appease desktop PC users with Windows 8.1 — which added back a Start button and the option of booting up to desktop — and it’s only going to further down this road with its next major release.

“Windows 8.1, launched in October 2013, definitely made the platform feel more like a single unit than the previous Desktop/Modern UI double-feature,” Tom’s Hardware writes. “Windows 8.1 GDR1, scheduled to launch in April, will supposedly help merge the two together. Windows 9? Even more.”

Tom’s Hardware also points out that Dell marketing exec Margaret Franco recently said that her company’s customers are expressing “a lot more interest around developing the transition strategy for their OS” in anticipation of Windows 9.

Of course, there’s one problem here: Windows 9 won’t launch until the fall of 2014 at the very earliest and has been tipped to launch as late as the spring of 2015. In the time between April and Windows 9’s eventual release, XP users are going to get swamped with all manner of fun zero-day attacks by malware developers who have had XP’s impending death on their radars for years. If that can’t convince them to finally dump XP, it’s doubtful there’s anything Windows 9 could do to change their minds either.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.