Bye Bye, Ms. Windows XP?
As of this writing Microsoft plans to stop selling Windows XP 30 June 2008. Steve Ballmer has indicated there may be wiggle room in this decision but (to my knowledge) no postponment has been announced.
Back In My Day...
I've been around the block a couple times with Microsoft OS's and products. Does anyone remember the resistance to upgrade to XP? It's been a while, yes, but it was there and I remember it. People and corporations were being "forced" to abandon Windows 2000. Before that they were "forced" to upgrade from Windows 98 Second Edition - an OS I liked a lot. There were complaints also about moving to .Net. Some VB folks still refuse and are insisting Microsoft support VB6 forever.
I don't think there's a clear win here for either the folks who like or want XP or VB6, or for Microsoft.
I think all of us at some time or other only want the things to change that we want to change, and only in the ways we want them to change. That's human nature. But we're involved in a change-or-die field. There are lots of business drivers for new OS's: security is one of the more important; new features are also nice; and the list goes on.
Microsoft didn't invent change-or-die rule or any of the other rules of the industry, but they do play by them - as do we all.
The people complaining fall into a couple camps. One group is constructively criticizing. For them, upgrading to Vista or another OS is a painful option. Their complaints are legitimate - there's simply a collision between their personal or enterprise's ability to manage this type of change at this time and the timing of the change. Normal, unfortunate, and (in my opinion) these people should be heeded by Microsoft.
There is another crowd about that, quite frankly, despises all things Microsoft. They are not constructively criticizing - they are whining. When Microsoft fixes the thing they whine about, they mill about until they find something else to whine about. It's a never-ending cycle for them, a broken record.
I confess I do not understand this second group of people at all. I can empathize with many people, but not these. Where I come from we say "that dog won't hunt" and "I don't cotton" to their way of thinking. That said, I wish them no harm. Opinions - and the right to express them - are precious enough in the US that many of us have volunteered to serve to protect the rights of the many others with whom we cannot empathize.
I think the challenge for Microsoft is to separate the constructive critics from the whiners. In my opinion, they should ignore the whiners and respond only to the constructive.