Google has announced that they will continue to support the Chrome browser on Windows XP until at least April 2015, one year after Microsoft will end support for it.
2014 is an important year for Microsoft support lifecycles. Windows XP, Windows Exchange Server 2003 and Office 2003 are 3 of the very popular products for which Microsoft will stop providing security updates. [Correction: Windows Server 2003 end of life is July, 2015. Thanks yuhong2]
Windows XP is the one that has raised the most concern, as a significant number of users still rely on it, especially outside the US. Many of these users are Chrome users.
In announcing their extended support period, Google pointed out that browsers are often used as vectors for exploiting vulnerabilities in operating systems, so a secure browser will become all the more important on Windows XP once the patches stop. Internet Explorer on Windows XP will no longer be patched, so using it will become more dangerous.
Mark Larson, Director of Engineering and Superintendent of Public Safety for Google Chrome, who wrote the blog, said that the company’s goal is to support Chrome XP users “during this transition process” from XP to something else. Microsoft has been calling the last few years the transition period, and it’s possible that by indulging XP users with continued support that Google will delay that transition. Extending support might be the right thing to do, but it would also be helpful for them to announced a hard stop to that support.