Arguably the most venerable and popular of the Microsoft Windows systems is now being left behind by the company. The Windows XP death has now become official and Microsoft will leave the system unsupported. While Windows XP becoming a discontinued product was certainly expected, there are still many places where the impact will be keenly felt.
One of the largest industries that still use Windows XP is automated teller machines or ATMs. In fact, it is estimated that 95%of the ATMS in the world are run off of Windows XP systems. This may come as a surprise to many consumers who are unaware of Windows being used in ATMs, but the XP system runs the software that allows bank customers to interact with the accounts in order to withdraw money.
With most of the 420,000 ATMs in the US being run off of XP systems that Microsoft will soon abandon, this has created a crisis in the banking community. By April 8th, 2014 the support for XP systems will officially end even though so many ATMs still use this program. There are a number of ramifications that may occur when Windows XP is discontinued.
Cost of Replacement
While Microsoft has been warning about the end the Windows XP death for years, the banking industry has been very slow to respond. Currently, there is a movement towards Window 7, but only about 15% of ATMs will have that system by April, 2014. There are a number of one to two year extensions in the works, but overall most in the ATM industry will be stuck with the bill of making the changes themselves.
Security and Compliance
One of the most important issues about XP-run ATMs is not so much whether it runs, but the inherent security and compliance issues that will take place in the near future. Discontinued systems are not only more subject to breakdowns. They also present more security concerns as they are not being addressed anymore by Microsoft.
Windows 7 Upgrade
Another factor is the upgrade to Windows 7, which seems to be the prevailing trend of ATM companies. However, such as upgrade will require more than just new software for many ATM machines, they will require new hardware as well. Such costs can be considerable for companies that need to make such changes which also mean that the cost to consumers will go up as well.
If there is a positive to these changes, ATMs will become easier to use with more touchscreen technology, faster navigation and other advances that the old Windows XP could not provide. While the costs initially may be considerable, the result will be a faster, more consumer friendly service at the ATM. Of course, this will only last as long as Microsoft supports Windows 7 and ATM companies will no doubt face something like this in their future. The discontinued Windows XP marks perhaps another turning point in technology for ATM usage that will be seen again something in the foreseeable future. How ATM companies and bank react now will be a sign of how they deal with new challenges in the future.