Google and Adobe Toss Windows Overboard

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by Andy Patrizio

With 19 months before Microsoft formally ends any and all support of Windows XP, two big firms and competitors have announced the end of support for XP in their own ways, a move that could help hasten the demise of Windows XP in the marketplace.

Google has a policy of supporting only the two most recent versions of a Web browser on the market. Windows 8 comes with Internet Explorer 10, while IE9 is on Windows 7. Therefore, once Windows 8 ships, Google will end all support for IE8 in Google Apps.

There’s still Firefox and Chrome for XP users to fall back on, but given how IE is a corporate standard, that’s going to sting. Many businesses, especially in the SMB market, rely on Google Apps and now they will either have to switch browsers or operating systems.

Separately, Adobe announced on its Photoshop Blog that the next version of Photoshop CS would support only Windows 7 and 8. The current version, CS6, is available for XP but, amusingly, not for Vista, which was its successor.

Like IE6 before it, Windows XP remains more stubbornly-rooted than a dandelion. Even after three years of Windows 7 availability, XP still holds 43 percent of the market, according to the latest monthly data from Net Applications, the Web analytics company that estimates market share based on the OS of visitors to Web pages.

This is nothing new and there have been warnings for some time, so Google and Adobe are just making things official, since vendors hate supporting multiple versions of Windows even more than Microsoft does, according to Michael Silver, research vice president at Gartner.

“Hopefully people will realize this has been happening for a few years. We projected it to become common in 2012. Some organizations haven’t realized it yet because they have been stagnant at upgrading their apps,” he said.

Silver figures about 5 percent of businesses have been laggards at migrating off XP and don’t realize that support is ending for XP and IE8. “So hopefully this will be a wakeup call. Some could need a year to start a Windows 7 migration,” he said.

And migrations are not trivial. He notes that Seibel CRM, a customer management application owned by Oracle, is very specifically tied to Internet Explorer, so companies going from IE8 to IE9 will have to qualify Siebel on the new browser, which is a long process.

But, he said, don’t skip Windows 7 and go straight to Windows 8. Win8 ships next month and is a massive restructuring of the OS from Windows 7, nevermind XP. “The odds someone who has made no progress on Windows 7 will move to 8 and be off it before XP support ends in 19 months are kind of nil,” said Silver.

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