In Pictures: Looking back at the Windows XP era

The tech world has changed out of all recognition since Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system’s release

  • Welcome IE6! Internet Explorer 6 was released a few months before XP, and quickly became the dominant force in the web browser market. Much to the irritation of security developers, the browser maintained a relatively substantial usage level for years, even after several new versions of IE were released – due in part to being the default browser for new Windows XP installations. SOURCE:

  • Bring out your modems While it might feel like the Internet is a daily constant in the lives of almost all Americans, it wasn’t always so – according to statistics from the International Telecommunications Union, less than half of U.S. residents were internet users in 2001.

  • The worm turns The big malware threat in 2001 was the worm, in the form of nasties like Sadmind, Sircam and Code Red. Explosive Internet usage growth and a still-nascent public awareness of the importance of digital security helped them spread.

  • Life after the bubble The collapse of a number of heavily hyped tech startups affected a number of business IT stalwarts in 2001. However, many of the industry’s big names – including Google and Amazon, among others – managed to thrive after the dot-com bubble burst. SOURCE:

  • Console wars Video gaming was changing quickly in 2001, with the introduction of the Nintendo GameCube and Microsoft Xbox within days of each other.

  • What a long, strange trip it’s been Not even Microsoft could have predicted the full extent of Windows XP’s lifespan when the OS was released in late 2001. Now that the company has announced that support for XP will finally end in 2014, let’s take a look at exactly how different the tech world was back when XP was the new kid on the block.

  • “Smart”phones? Let’s be clear – if you had a smartphone in 2001, you were one of a very, very small minority. While forerunners like the IBM Simon had been around for years, the BlackBerry craze was still far off on the horizon, to say nothing of Droids and iPhones. SOURCE: CNET

  • A different view It’s difficult to overstate the extent to which the business IT climate has changed. Cisco’s annual report from 2001 addresses the question of whether “customers continue to believe in the benefits of the Internet” and touts the company’s commitment to IP technology. SOURCE: Cisco

  • Oh, yeah, I’ve heard of Google Calling Google the 800-pound gorilla of the Internet may be underselling its dominance, though it has been challenged for raw page views of late by Facebook. In 2001, however, the picture was very different. Google ranked below sites like Geocities, Excite and, according to statistics from online researcher Compete. SOURCE: Wonder-Tonic’s Geocities-izer

  • Chugging along The next time you get exasperated at your smartphone’s slow processor speed, consider this: That 1-GHz processor powering your handheld would have been considered top-of-the-line – in a desktop PC back in 2001.

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