10 years ago this month, Microsoft introduced what would eventually become the world's most popular desktop operating system. Windows XP was one of the most significant Windows releases to date. Windows 2000 was the first Windows NT based OS for the desktop which could be used by regular PC users without any issues. But it was Windows XP that brought the NT based OS to those who were afraid of Windows 2000. Windows XP introduced several useful user interface features and was far more advanced than the outdated Windows 98 or ME that it replaced. And once companies got accustomed to XP in the office, the idea of an operating system that they wouldn't have to change for years on end became something they couldn't pass up.
Microsoft on the other hand is eager for Windows XP to simply go away. But for that to happen, they need millions of XP users to drop the old OS and migrate to Windows 7, or even to Windows 8, when it comes out next year.
According to analytics firm Net Applications, XP finished September 2011 with a 50.5% share of all desktop operating systems which is a drop of 10% from just 10 months earlier. Windows 7 currently has more than 32% of the desktop OS market, and that number is on the rise. Microsoft has made it clear that it will be ending support for Windows XP in April 2014. XP may have been outed sooner if Windows Vista wasn't such a flop.