In the ever-changing world of information technology, professionals have probably grown accustomed to making significant changes to their companies IT use, swapping out obsolete solutions for ones that are revolutionary. While chief information officers and their team members may elect to make a switch all on their own, there may come a time when they have no choice but to change – even when it comes to tools to which they feel strongly attached.
A prime example of this latter scenario can be seen as tech professionals scramble to migrate all of their businesses’ digital functions to the new operating system Windows 8.1. After Microsoft started to phase out XP last month, IT departments may still be ironing all the kinks in terms of their new OS, all the while wondering why this tech giant decided to force it on them.
Making the switch with Microsoft
Microsoft gave companies fair forewarning in terms of the impending fate of XP, and it urged businesses to plan accordingly. Once it developed Windows 8.1, it wanted to make sure that this new system was actually adopted, rather than being seen as superfluous by organizations who were complacent with XP. To prevent this from happening, Microsoft announced well in advance that it would no longer release security updates for XP as of April 2014, which means that any firm operating on this previous system would be putting their data at risk if they were to stick with their previous OS.
On the part of Microsoft, this was a wise strategy, as it guaranteed that all of its developers’ hard work would not be all for naught. Additionally, the corporation would not have to exert extra effort coming out with new updates for an old system.
At the same time, this forced adoption has been challenging for companies. Not only did they have to abandon their tried-and-true XP, but they also had to sort out all the dynamic details of Windows 8.1, a system that is still subject to massive updates as Microsoft identifies weaknesses and makes programming adjustments that businesses must then implement. Even though 8.1 is still in its infancy, Microsoft has already released a security patch that companies now have to apply, which is hardly a reassuring sign for organizations that had to forfeit their trusty XP.
“By immediately withdrawing all future security updates for Windows 8.1 RTM in the eyes of most enterprise customers you are effectively performing an immediate End-of-Life on Windows 8.1 RTM,” pointed out a user under the name of “wdeguara” via a comment on Microsoft’s Michael Hildebrand’s blog.
“This places enterprise customers who are in the midst of a Windows 8.1 rollout in a very precarious position given that they are now forced to introduce this very large update … in a very short timeframe,” the user explained. “I know that Microsoft wants its customer base to adopt updates to its Windows platform faster, but immediately dropping security patching on the Windows 8.1 RTM release is just plain crazy.”
Emotions run high with OS migration
As IT professionals work to apply this patch to 8.1, they could let their frustration get the best of them. In general, when Microsoft dropped the bomb about stopping support for XP, there was a fair amount of opposition, and a number of tech experts did not see the point in this software giant mandating this switch. According to Forbes, the forced migration to Windows 8.1 has sparked a share of conspiracy theories throughout the IT community.
For instance, the source explained that some IT professionals believe this is a money-making scheme concocted by Microsoft and that XP works just fine. However, plenty of software companies – including Apple – have to start from scratch with their OSs so that their customers can keep pace with innovation.
“A 1940s typewriter likely still works, if it has been kept up, nearly as well as it did when it was new,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group, told Forbes. “It’s just obsolete now, and there are other things better. But connected products have to be updated regularly because of threats and computing products become obsolete at a rapid rate. Software doesn’t wear out, it ages out.”
Like it or not, tech professionals have to accept that XP is a tool of the past. Soon enough, Microsoft will likely refine Windows 8.1, and IT experts may see the world of difference that this OS advancement could make.