I tend to focus on the future of Windows here, and while no one would argue that Windows XP is the future of anything, this bit of news is worth mentioning. This week, Microsoft agreed to extend support for its anti-malware products on Windows XP for over one year past the OS's support expiration date of April 2014.
Yep, we're talking about Windows XP. Still.
As you may recall, the 12+ year old Windows XP is barreling towards retirement on April 8, 2014, less than three months from now. Despite the coming XPocalypse—hundreds of millions of PCs, most in businesses, are still using the ancient OS—Microsoft has shown little sympathy to those who would like to see it extend support for the OS yet again.
But one of the better arguments for doing so, of course, is the possibility that hackers are eagerly awaiting this April date so they can unleash a torrent of saved-up exploits that they've prepared for Windows XP since Microsoft won't be doing anything (basically) to protect those systems after the XPiration date.
I see both sides of that argument. I'm sort of bewildered that anyone is still using Windows XP, but whatever. It was fun while it lasted. (And while I've probably written a number of retrospectives about this OS, Looking Back: 10 Years of Windows XP is perhaps worth a look.)
Until yesterday, Microsoft had maintained that it would retire Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) for Windows XP along with the OS. (Its successor is built into Windows 8.x now, by the way.) But in its first nod to those still trying to make the transition from XP to something even a bit more modern, Microsoft this week announced that it would extend support for MSE—and for the business-oriented MSE derivatives—on Windows XP for over one year past the OS retirement date.
"To help organizations complete their migrations, Microsoft will continue to provide updates to our antimalware signatures and engine for Windows XP users through July 14, 2015," an uncredited post to the Malware Protection Center blog notes. "For enterprise customers, this applies to System Center Endpoint Protection, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection and Windows Intune running on Windows XP. For consumers, this applies to Microsoft Security Essentials."
So there you go. Another 18 months of security protection for Windows XP. But seriously. Upgrade already.