XPocalypse: The disaster predicted to befall millions of Microsoft Windows users on April 8, 2014, when Microsoft stops supporting its twelve-year-old XP operating system. A portmanteau of XP and apocalypse.
It’s coming: XPocalypse—the end of Microsoft’s support of Windows XP on April 8. Anyone who still has a PC with Windows XP is either scrambling to figure out what to do with it—or in some state of blissful denial about it all. Or, they are lashing themselves to the mast of their old XP schooner, determined to ride out the storm.
The disaster looms most ominously for businesses that use the Windows OS. Three-quarters of businesses in the UK still use Windows XP, according to an April 1 report in the Telegraph. A January 16, 2014, story in Bloomberg Businessweek pointed out vulnerabilities in the US, too:
Microsoft’s 12-year-old Windows XP dominates the ATM market, powering more than 95 percent of the world’s machines and a similar percentage in the U.S., according to Robert Johnston, a marketing director at NCR, the largest ATM supplier in the U.S.
Microsoft, unsurprisingly, paints an upbeat picture of the impending demise.
“Honestly, it’s time for a change.”*
Atlanta-based Liquidware Labs created an XPocalypse 2014 website—“your guide to migrating XPombies,” which seems to have something to do with zombies. The site promotes Liquidware’s ProfileUnity product, but it misstates the date of XP’s euthanasia as April 13.
The earliest citation I found for XPocalypse is in the website of IT Boss, an Australian technology-support company. A post dated August 13, 2013, has the headline “The Coming XPocalypse: Windows XP Support Is Going Away,” and depicted the disaster scenario in a convincing pie chart:
Chart from IT Boss.
By mid-September, US news sites were beginning to pick up the term. A ZDNet post dated September 18, 2013, has the headline “The coming XPocalypse and five things Microsoft can do to prevent it.” The lede uses another -pocalypse coinage as well:
Unlike the Mayan nonpocalypse, which was predicted by everyone but the Mayans, we know that April 8, 2014 will be an XPocalypse of epic proportions -- and even Microsoft agrees on the year, month, and day.
“Xpocalypse” had surfaced pre-2013 with different associations and a slightly different spelling. The @Xpocalypse Twitter account is based in Detroit; its bio is “Resources to survive the apocalypse”—no mention of Microsoft. The account sent six tweets between August and September 2011 and has been silent ever since. There’s also an Xpocalypse Pinterest account with the same gas-mask icon as the Twitter account.
XPocalypse is not to be confused with Zpocalypse, “a survival board game set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.”
The original meaning of “apocalypse” was not “disaster” but “revelation.” The word entered English in the late 14th century from Church Latin; its root is Greek apokalyptein “uncover, disclose, reveal.”
* Is it just me, or does that image look a lot like a tampon ad?