April 8, 2014 marked the end of an era. Microsoft officially dropped support for Windows XP, the venerable operating system that has powered PCs for twelve years.
At its debut, and through much of its life, XP was seen by many as the pinnacle of PC uniformity, with it's quick adoption and near total market saturation. Even microsoft's own attempt to unseat it, Windows Vista, didn't make a dent in the install base. Only after the releases of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 did they move to discontinue support.
This doesn't mean that XP is going away any time soon. Reports show that as many as one out of three computers worldwide still use XP today. Large companies, especially those in regulated industries such as hospitals and insurance companies, are notoriously slow at updating unless forced to. Since dropping support means that Microsoft will no longer offer security patches, this may be the nudge they would for much needed update.
Still, most see this move as a good thing. Windows XP was limited to Internet Explorer 8, and could not be upgraded to IE9. With any luck, this will reduce the IE8-and-lower browser share even more, making web designers around the world very happy.