When Microsoft finally killed support for Windows XP last year, those who still relied on the operating system were able to take comfort in the fact that they would still have access to a modern and secure browser, even if the rest of the operating system became vulnerable to newfound security threats. As hundreds of millions of Windows XP users fell into a collective panic, Google announced that it would maintain and update Chrome for Windows XP until at least this month, April 2015.
This week, Google clarified its support for Chrome on XP, and pledged to keep supporting it until the end of 2015. Mark Larson, Director of Engineering for Chrome, made the announcement via a blog post on the official Chrome Blog:
We know that not everyone can easily switch to a newer operating system. Millions of people are still working on XP computers every day. We want those people to have the option to use a browser that’s up-to-date and as safe as possible on an unsupported operating system. We previously announced that we’d keep supporting Chrome on Windows XP through ‘at least’ April 2015. It’s April 2015 now, and we’re extending that commitment. We will continue to provide regular updates and security patches to Chrome on XP through the end of 2015.
It’s good news for those still stuck on the aging operating system, but it does mean that one more nail in XP’s coffin has been moved into place, ready to be struck in just a few more months.
Google’s timing is also not surprising. Microsoft has been steadily improving its next major operating system release, Windows 10, through both internal and public testing. The update aims to not only add new features, but to also address the concerns of business users and desktop fans who were reluctant to upgrade to Windows 8 and its hybrid “Metro” UI.
Windows 10 is expected to launch in the late summer timeframe, and Microsoft is making it a free upgrade for the first year for any user with a valid Windows 8 or Windows 7 license. The company hopes that its pricing strategy and user interface improvements will help spur upgrades to the latest and most secure version of Windows, and reduce the number of computers running XP, which still stood at roughly 17 percent as of March 2015.
Those who are unwilling or unable to upgrade beyond Windows XP may still have a secure browser option after Google ends support for Chrome at the end of the year. Both the Opera and Firefox browsers are still maintained on XP, although neither company has revealed discontinuation plans.
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