By Kevin Connolly, Windows Business Group Manager for Microsoft Sub-Saharan Africa & Indian Ocean Islands

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.  ~ Henri Bergson

The news has been out for a while but if you haven’t heard, take note. Microsoft is ending Windows XP support from April 8th, 2014. This may sound scary, but moving onto a new operating system is a completely natural progression, and just like a car needs to be serviced and upgraded, so do computers. This is why Microsoft has a ten year Support Lifecycle Policy.

Windows XP was launched in October 2001. When I think back on the last 10 years, I realize just how much can change in a decade. In 2001, many of us were still using floppy disks, the very first Harry Potter film graced our screens; Africa’s Queen of pop, Brenda Fassie had just released her ‘Greatest Hits’ album, and flip phones were all the rage. Wikipedia had just launched, Facebook didn’t exist yet – and, Windows XP was the latest and greatest operating system on the market with a faster start-up time, a sleeker interface, and exciting new tools like Media Player and Movie Maker.

Over the last ten years, the floppy disk has become antiquated, seven Harry Potter movies have been box-office hits, Africa has mourned the loss of the Queen of African Pop, and flip phones have become a rarity. Wikipedia has replaced encyclopaedias, Facebook has become the most popular website in the world – and, people who are still using Windows XP are now missing out on the latest and greatest technology.

Just like pop culture, technology has changed drastically over the last decade.  As an enabler, it responds to the changing needs of its users. It empowers people by saving them time, improving productivity and removing constraints– from geographical distance to language barriers. It makes what was previously impossible, possible. And the limit to what it can do is constantly expanding. When you start to think of technology like this, it becomes clear why using outdated forms of it cause you to fall behind.

So, relying on XP, which is now 11 years old, could mean you’re doing business at half the pace of everyone else, and coming up against obstacles no one else encounters
anymore. Because of its age, Windows XP also relies on the ongoing delivery of security-related patches to remain secure. When support ends, users will no longer receive new security updates and patches. With more sophisticated cyber threats emerging every day it’s critical that individuals and businesses have a modern OS to protect their data, customer and credit card information, and keep their IP safe!

With Windows 8 having just reached its 100 millionth license activation  and over 60 000 Windows 8 apps available in the app store, there is no better opportunity to embrace newer and better
technologies than now!
When it comes to the world of technology, standing still really is falling behind.

And, the good news for SMBs, is that if they register for Windows 8 Pro before 30 June, they’ll receive a 15% discount on Windows 8 Pro and Office Standard 2013