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Windows XP: The final countdown

Microsoft Australia has warned enterprise customers that they only have one year left of Windows XP support and security updates.

The vendor plans to end technical support and security updates for XP on 8 April 2014. The OS was launched in 2001 and went on to become one of the vendor's most popular offerings.

Learn how smart CIOs are protecting customers from security breaches

According to IDC's World Wide PC Tracker Installed Base data from the fourth quarter of 2012, XP still makes up approximately 11 per cent of operating systems on computers in Australia.

IDC Australia market analyst Amy Cheah told CIO Australia that XP was still in use because OS migration is a complex process.

"The biggest inhibitor is compatibility of corporate applications. Enterprises and software vendors need time to upgrade corporate applications to be compatible with a new OS and this generally takes at least 18 months," she said.

Cheah also attributed XP's longevity to stability, particularly in terms of performance and compatibility with applications.

While Microsoft Australia has touted Windows 8 as an ideal OS upgrade for enterprises, Cheah said it was more likely that enterprises would choose Windows 7 given its maturity.

"Most corporate applications are still not compatible with Windows 8," she said.

IDC Australia research has also found that migration to Windows 8 remains low for many Australian CIOs.

"According to a quick survey we did with 31 Australian IT decision makers, only one has plans to migrate their current PC fleet to Windows 8," she said.

In January 2013, IDC Australia found that enterprises in Q4 of 2012 were for the most part "indifferent" to Windows 8.

"Enterprise interest in migrating their PC fleets to Windows 8 is still 18 to 24 months away," Cheah said at the time.

This was because CIOs and IT decision makers were concentrating on migrating to Windows 7 before XP support ended.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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