12,500 sign 'Save XP' petition

Within 36 hours of the full launch of InfoWorld's petition drive asking Microsoft not to discontinue Windows XP as planned on June 30, 12,621 people had signed the online petition. And dozens of the site's readers added their own comments to the InfoWorld Save Windows XP blog. Many external sites have promoted the campaign as well. InfoWorld will deliver the petitions to Microsoft later this spring.

The vast majority of comments supported the petition drive, providing a variety of reasons that both individuals and companies do not want to lose the option to keep new XP licenses available after June 30. Lack of compelling benefits in Vista, coupled with the training, support, and other costs of upgrading was the most cited reason. Some cited compatibility concerns.

Some commenters thought the campaign was silly, arguing that change is a fact of life in technology and that there's no sense in sticking with older technology. This argument drew retorts that change for its own sake was not a worthwhile approach.

In an interview, Burton Group executive strategist Ken Anderson suggested that the strong emotional support shown in the comments indicated a fundamental shift in how people, including IT staff, now think of operating systems. They have become a familiar extension of what we do and how we work, thus not something want to change often. "When technology becomes part of you, you don't want people to mess with it," he said.

Anderson likened the reaction to XP's impending demise to what happened in the 1980s when Coca-Cola replaced its classic Coke soda formula with New Coke, causing massive protests and forcing the company to bring back the now-rechristened Coke Classic. "XP has come to the point of being Coke Classic," he said.

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