Google yanks Chrome support for Windows XP, at long last

So long and thanks for all the market share

There’s one less hideout for Windows XP hangers-on when it comes to browsers.

Google’s Chrome 50 for Windows, Mac and Linux has been released and Google’s browser will, finally, no longer work on Microsoft’s legacy desktop.

Also no longer supported are Windows Vista, OS X 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8.

It will be Microsoft’s XP desktop that will arguably be the most significant development.

Seventeen years after its debut, Windows XP still commands a 10 per cent market share, despite Microsoft officially terminating its support in April 2014. The last version of Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer browser to run on Windows XP was IE8 with Service Pack 3.

Microsoft has used its browser-platform support policies to prod PC users into moving to newer versions of its client operating system.

But the presence of Chrome, which Google has deliberately allowed to run on those legacy versions of Windows, has given Windows XP customers in particular a get out that has prolonged the operating system's life.

In many ways, the existence of Chrome with support for Windows XP has contributed to the continued healthy presence of XP. Moreover, Microsoft has allowed Chrome to become established as a browser used in business, with Google’s browser becoming a default number-two for many.

Depending on which web-browser statistician you subscribe to, Chrome is now the web’s number one browser by market share – only the size of the lead is in question. It’s a far cry from IE’s near-monopoly on the web in the early 2000s.

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