Maybe with help from Google and Adobe, Microsoft can kill Windows XP

Google and Adobe are ending Windows XP support with new products, which hopefully will accelerate its demise.

Just like Internet Explorer 6, Microsoft can't bury Windows XP fast enough. Fortunately, it's getting a little help from Google and Adobe.

Google announced last Friday that, in accordance to its policy of supporting a current browser and the immediate predecessor, its Google Apps productivity suite would drop support for Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) once Windows 8 ships. Windows 8 comes with Internet Explorer 10, which is not available for Windows 7. Windows 7 has IE9, which Microsoft did not release for XP. So that means that Google Apps will be compatible with IE10 on Windows 8, IE9 on Windows 7, but not at all on IE on Windows XP. Got all that?

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In more coherent news, Adobe announced on the Photoshop Blog that the next version of Photoshop CS would support only Windows 7 and 8. The current version, CS6, is available for XP but, amusingly, not for Vista, which was its successor.

This is a much-needed boost for Microsoft, which anxiously wants to put XP out to pasture after 11 years. Despite efforts to get rid of the old OS, XP still holds 43% of the market, according to the latest monthly data from Net Applications, the Web analytics company that estimates market share based on the OS of visitors to Web pages.

In August, Net Applications put XP at 43 percent share and Windows 7 at 45%, surpassing XP for the first time. Net Applications tends to be an across-the-board survey. Steam, the gaming sales service run by Valve Software, does its own analytics, which is entirely consumer-oriented. Among Steam customers, Windows 7 has 70% market share, covering both 32-bit and 64-bit, while XP has 12%.

That confirms what has been known for some time: consumers are adopting Windows 7 at a much faster rate than businesses. I know there is a whole economic argument to be had, and these numbers are not precise or scientific, but if XP really can be found in only 12% of households but 43% of businesses (or something close to that), then it really is time for the enterprise to stop dragging its tail.

Hopefully more firms will follow Google and Adobe and give XP that final push.

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