Windows XP Shutdown Outrage: Users Boo Microsoft Blog
Microsoft blogger recently encouraged customers to "help their family and friends get off Windows XP." Oh, really?
Windows XP Shutdown: 10 Facts To Know
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There's nothing all that remarkable about a Microsoft employee publishing a post to one of the company's corporate blogs. Redmond maintains eight separate blogs for Windows alone, not to mention similar sites for products like Windows Phone and Internet Explorer.
So you're forgiven if you missed this one from Feb. 7: Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's chief blogger, reminded readers that the end of support for Windows XP, which still powers 29% of the world's PCs, was then just two months away. (Support for XP ends April 7.) The post, "Help your friends and family get off Windows XP," begins: "Today marks 60 days until the end of support for Windows XP and we need your help spreading the word to ensure people are safe and secure on modern up-to-date PCs."
It seemed a harmless -- if perhaps a tad desperate -- pitch to sophisticated Windows users: Please help us get your technology laggard friends and family off XP and onto a "modern" OS, Windows 8.1.
After a fortnight in the wild, though, harmless is definitely not the right word. Rather, Windows customers have turned the comments section -- 162 posts and counting -- into a business-school case study on the downside of corporate blogging. Many of the comments express displeasure with Windows 8.x, Microsoft's sales and marketing strategies, past product flops, and other gripes.
Naru wrote: "Honestly, this sounds more like a sales pitch for Windows 8.1 than any kind of interest in what is actually best for my friends and family." XMVP, meanwhile, who identified himself as a former Microsoft MVP, said: "I'm having a heck of a time telling all the people I know with XP machines to move to 8.1. I don't even use it, and probably won't."
That's among the gentler blowback.
Snodrog kicked things up a notch: "I was a victim of Windows ME; my husband was a victim of Vista. Both of us are tech-savvy endusers and our computers run XP. We will not upgrade to Win 8.1, and when we can no longer use XP we will move to machines running Linux or Macs. And you can stick that up your arrogant corporate backsides."
As the legendary Ron Burgundy would say: "Boy, that escalated quickly."
So where did things go wrong?
For starters, directly pairing the awareness campaign around XP's support cutoff with the push for Windows 8.1 upgrades was, at this stage, a woeful miscalculation of the marketplace. As Keatah wrote: "If Microsoft could make a compelling and user-friendly product that doesn't alienate current hardware and software AND is reasonably priced, the upgrade sales would roll in all by themselves. All without the need for MS asking us to upgrade. But instead we're stuck with this situation."
Microsoft's message makes no mention of Windows 7 -- nor, of course, the fact that Windows 9 rumors are already rampant. Right or wrong, Windows 8.x's ragged public perception doesn't make for a great XP upgrade spiel. "Hey, dump that old OS that everyone still seems to love and fork over some cash for this 'modern' OS that everyone seems to love to hate! P.S. You're probably going to need buy hardware, too." Not exactly the stuff of a memorable Super Bowl spot.
One of the odder things about the friends-and-family pitch is that it offered no incentive to spur Windows diehards into action. No discounts, no Microsoft Store credit, no nothing. Instead of taking a "scratch our back and we'll scratch yours" approach, Microsoft effectively said: "Scratch our back. It's itchy."
That's particularly puzzling given that the cost of upgrading is most definitely an obstacle for some customers. Several comment authors took issue with