Today, August 24, 2011, marks the tenth anniversary of Windows XP. Ten years ago on Aug. 24,2001 in Redmond Washington, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Jim Allchin, then vice president of the platforms group, officially released to manufacturing Windows XP.
Windows XP marked the end of the DOS/Windows 9x legacy and the beginning of a new lineage of Microsoft operating systems, and was the successor to Windows 2000 and Windows Me, was the first consumer-oriented operating system produced by Microsoft to be built on the Windows NT kernel.
During development, the project was codenamed "Whistler", after Whistler, British Columbia, as many Microsoft employees skied at the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort.
Windows XP was released for retail sale on October 25, 2001, and over 400 million copies were in use in January 2006. Direct OEM and retail sales of Windows XP ceased on June 30, 2008. Microsoft continued to sell Windows XP through their System Builders (smaller OEMs who sell assembled computers) program until January 31, 2009.
Windows XP quickly became a success, running on up to 80% of all PCs at some point. It also came under attack by malware - a problem which made Microsoft focus their efforts on the 'Secure Computing' initiative, the result of which was Windows XP Service Pack 2.
Even today Windows XP still runs on approx. 40-50% of all PCs (although that percentage is inflated by the market share it still has in countries like China). Even on a technical forum like Neowin there are still those who voluntarily use Windows XP. To each their own I guess - personally I've long relegated XP to virtual machines.