The tech industry in Nigeria wasn’t adequately informed and was not well prepared for the end of support for Windows XP operating system, Microsoft has admitted.

Speaking at a forum held recently in Nigeria’s commercial capital city of Lagos, Yinka Oni – chief technology officer of Microsoft Nigeria – said as Microsoft is announcing end of support for the Windows 2003 operating system, the company is learning from the experience of how XP hit end-of-life last year.

From 14 July, Microsoft said there will no longer be security updates, online assisted support and technical updates for Windows 2003.

Announcing product retirement is not a message of doom neither is it a new development and before a product is retired, users are often informed, guided and assisted to move to new platforms – in this case Windows 2012 or the cloud.

Microsoft Nigeria sees product retirement as an opportunity for businesses to rethink their strategies.

“Virtualisation is now possible, upgrading will enhance productivity and will improve infrastructural performance and facilitate innovation while providing businesses with several options to leverage on,” the CTO said.

While the benefits of migrating to newer operating systems are numerous, the fact that lots of individuals and organizations are running very critical, personal and sensitize operations on the older operating systems raise the need for proper enlightenment and development of seamless execution strategy.

For this migration, Microsoft is planning to engage with the umpire of Nigeria’s finance sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in addition to heads of information technology departments and heads of payment units of banks and industries.

The company is also planning sensitization initiatives for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) through the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI) and other similar umbrella bodies.

But this planned end of support is not one that will only affect the large corporate bodies, banks and others; it will affect every user of the operating system irrespective of their location and job description. This means a mass onslaught and bombardment campaigns would be needed to achieve the desired results.

The company also needs to find a way to reach its users directly. The best approach is always the direct approach. If every Nigerian can be informed about the availability of mobile phones, every computer user should be aware of a forthcoming end of support for Windows 2003.

[Image – CC Daniel Olnes]