Just one month before the official retail release of XP, a group by the name of devils0wn released a volume license key used to bypass product activation. This allowed potentially millions of users to install the operating system without paying for it. Furthermore, the events of September 11, 2001 put a damper on Microsoft’s retail launch plans and the company decided to scale back worldwide launch parties accordingly.
OEM and retail sales of XP ceased in June 2008, although Microsoft continued to offer the OS to system builders through early 2009. Support will be offered for systems running Service Pack 3 through April 8, 2014. As of last month, Windows XP finally fell below the 50 percent mark among all Windows Internet users. The slow decline is partially due to the success of Windows 7, which now accounts for nearly 30 percent of the market.
Microsoft has been urging customers to upgrade from XP since Vista arrived in 2006 and again when 7 debuted in 2009. According to free antivirus software provider Avast, XP is home to 74 percent of their customers' rookit infections.
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