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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 8.x licensing and pricing. Others said they simply can't afford to buy a new PC. "I have an XP computer and I cannot afford to upgrade," Miss Tia wrote, adding that she likes the aged XP just fine.

InformationWeek readers have shared similar sentiments in recent months: they're not getting off XP because they don't have the money for new hardware. One reader chimed in on a recent story: "New computers aren't free. Unless MS wants to buy me a new computer, I will have to continue using XP." Among businesses still running XP, budget commonly appears on the list of reasons why.

That's one of the more awkward aspects of marketing XP-to-8.x upgrades: While XP-aged hardware might meet the minimum system requirements for Windows 8.1, it's unlikely to deliver an optimal experience. Indeed, one of two upgrade paths outlined in LeBlanc's blog post is simply: Get a new PC. "The easiest path to Windows 8.1 is with new devices and there are offers and deals from many retailers to help people get a new device," LeBlanc wrote. Translation: Please buy new stuff.

Another Windows XP user, retired, commented on Feb. 20, nearly two weeks after the post was published: "It would be really nice if you would stop telling me how to spend MY MONEY, as in 'get rid of XP and buy yourself a new computer.' ... You are going to lose a lot of [retirees] ... Do you really think we can afford a new computer on YOUR WHIM?"

To Microsoft's credit, it's allowing the overwhelmingly negative conversation to flow freely. LeBlanc assured some of the more ornery respondents that "we're not censoring your comments" and said he is passing the feedback along to "appropriate teams at Microsoft." He noted that some messages may be removed if they're flagged as inappropriate, abusive, or spam. (Imagine what some of those messages must say.)

It's reasonable to assume that the feedback hasn't been warmly received, and it's a reminder of the risks inherent in communicating at customers when they have a very public forum for responding. (Like, say, the Internet.) Even one of the strongest bullet points in Microsoft's "get off XP" message -- the potential security problems for users and networks once Microsoft stops patching software flaws -- was thrown back in the company's face.

"Yeah, I know [XP] isn't as secure as a newer OS, but most people I speak to have come to expect all Microsoft OS's to be insecure and have to be behind anti-virus, anti-malware, and a firewall anyway," XMVP wrote. He recommends that XP stalwarts stop using Internet Explorer, Outlook, and Outlook Express, and potentially even Office after April 7 if they want to take extra security precautions.

"I think Microsoft made some serious errors in the [recent] years regarding OS upgrades, and I put this firmly on the 'retiring' CEO's plate for mishandling it and not understanding the market or how people think," XMVP continued. "You can only 'milk' people for so long before they get irritated and put their foot down. Microsoft pushed this too far, and has lost their goodwill with most of the people I influence, and I don't blame them."

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