There is a fine line to walk between being a company that listens and responds to its customers, and one that caves in to everything. Last summer Google killed Reader despite the cries of customers, while Microsoft did the same with Live Mesh – both hurt my work flow, and I wasn’t happy, but I understand there is sometimes a business need to cut losses and move on. The problem is Microsoft doesn’t stick to that plan in all cases.
Sure, the new flaw discovered in Internet Explorer versions 6 through 11 was bad, and the company certainly needed to do something to protect its users, which means patching the versions of the web browser that run on its current operating systems – Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8x.
However, like the Start menu, the folks in Redmond caved, and, despite carrying through with plans to kill support for its vintage OS, issued a patch to protect all those customers who refuse to turn the page on the calendar and discover 2014.
While many would argue that it was for the good of users, hell, for the good of the internet at large, I’d beg to differ. I see it as nothing more than a kinder and gentler Microsoft that can’t make up its mind about anything these days. This isn’t the same company that took on the Justice Department in an anti-trust trial, and in many ways that is a good thing, but this is decidedly not one of those ways.
Microsoft gave, quite literally, years of warning before killing Windows XP support. It even volunteered to continue patching for a fee for enterprises and governments who just couldn’t find the wherewithal to move on from 2001.
Well folks, it’s time. In fact, it was time years ago, and April 8th was your wake-up call. Microsoft should have let this go. Despite being a danger, it wasn’t like the warnings weren’t there. Microsoft told you to move on. Tech websites and security experts told you to move on. Windows XP was a great operating system in its day, but that day has passed.
Microsoft has sent a message that, despite the fact you’ve ignored every warning and continued to run an OS that should have died with the last decade, it will continue to save your butt when things go horribly wrong. Now it’s expected. But, it sets a bad precedent. On the surface, it may have seemed like Microsoft was being the good guy, but in the long run everyone loses, because the company can’t keep doing this, and next time it may not be there to pick up the pieces when you fall.
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