NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- After years of warnings, on Tuesday Microsoft (MSFT) will end its support for the old but still popular Windows XP operating system.
This could be a bigger deal than when the clock ticked from the end of 1999 into 2000, when many businesses and consumers worried "Y2K" would prevent computer applications from working properly as the world entered the new millennium.
Corporations in the late 1990s spent a lot of money to upgrade computer hardware and software just in case. In my judgment, spending on Y2K was one of the reasons that the tech-bubble was inflating. As it turned out Y2K proved to be a "Y2 hoax."
Microsoft has been warning customers for years that support for Windows XP would end, but now that the day has come this time bomb will begin to tick. Window XP is still widely used by 44% of businesses and 30% of all PC computers. This opens up the potential for security breaches in banks, retailers and at home for many Microsoft customers.
I personally like Windows XP better than Windows 7 and have not yet tried Windows 8.1, which is the version of Windows Microsoft recommends. They also warn that very few older computers will be able to run this latest version. Instead of spending the money to upgrade, many businesses and individuals have chosen to play Russian roulette. Once shot by a hacker or virus and they may be forced to upgrade.
Last week a local TV station in Tampa interviewed the managing director for the Center for Cybersecurity at the University of South Florida. He warned that hackers have been waiting for this day and will be trying to steal data, intellectual property and credit card information.
The Microsoft Web site says that you can continue to use Windows XP but you will be more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.
In my opinion Microsoft should reconsider suspending support due to the continued wide use of Windows XP. I say they risk class-action lawsuits given potential significant breaches.
If my Ford (F) dealer told me it would no longer service my 2004 Town Car I would be equally upset as I will be if my seven-year-old Lenovo using Windows XP dies. I have proprietary applications that do not work on Windows 7.