Windows XP SP2 and 7 Other Things Microsoft Killed This Year

Graphic: Diego Aguirre

Microsoft's official curtailing this week of support and patches for Windows 2000 and Windows XP Service Pack 2 marks the latest in a string of moves by the company to kill of products and technologies that either outlived their uselessness or never became useful in the first place.

While some in the industry would very much like to see Microsoft speed the demise of even more of its wares before they do any more harm (namely Internet Explorer 6), here's a rundown of what Microsoft has snuffed out so far in 2010.

Windows 2000, Windows XP SP2 Support and Patches

This marks the final Patch Tuesday during the Windows 2000, Windows XP SP2 era, and Microsoft did honor XP at least by issuing a patch to prevent some zero-day attacks. It's now up to customers to move to Windows XP SP3, or if Microsoft has its way, Windows 7. Meanwhile, some observers expect hackers to have a field day before the bulk of customers do move off the old software.

As for future Patch Tuesdays, we suspect Microsoft won't be hurting for things to fix even without Windows XP SP2 to worry about. If you're curious about where other product lifecycles stand within Microsoft, check out this handy search tool.

Kin Phones

Microsoft pulled the plug on these not entirely smart phones aimed at kids too cool to want to buy them just two months after they hit the market. Despite a critically-acclaimed design and a focus on social networking features, th

e Kins were a bust, most likely in part due to inevitable OEM partner conflict. (The good news: If you really like the Kin, you can get them super cheap from Verizon now)

The word from Microsoft of the Kin's fate in June: "Microsoft has made the decision to focus on the Windows Phone 7 launch and will not ship KIN in Europe this fall as planned. Additionally, we are integrating our KIN team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones."

Don't Miss! 2010 IT industry graveyard slideshow

Courier Tablet

Well, it was no Apple iPad. Microsoft confirmed in April it has canceled further development and production on its tablet project, codenamed Courier. The device had been

expected in the second half of this year, reportedly formatted in the shape of a book with two 7-inch screens, a built-in camera and Wi-Fi. The device also was said to support a variety of user inputs such as touching, handwriting and drawing.

But as Frank Shaw, corporate vice president of communications at Microsoft, put it: "At any given time, across any of our business groups, there are new ideas being investigated, tested, and incubated. It's in Microsoft's DNA to continually develop and incubate new technologies to foster productivity and creativity. The 'Courier' project is an example of this type of effort and its technologies will be evaluated for use in future Microsoft offerings."

While tablet-mania has only really begun with the iPad's introduction earlier this year, Microsoft has had a long history with tablets, as you can see in this slideshow. And Microsoft's tablet story isn't over yet. Company CEO Steve Ballmer this week said a slew of tablets and smart devices are forthcoming over the next several months What won't be coming are Windows 7 tablets from HP, which decided instead of delivering those devices that it would focus on WebOS-based tablets given its buyout of Palm.

Xbox Live Service for Xbox Original Games

Microsoft's "Major Nelson" revealed in early February that it would b

e discontinuing "Xbox Live service for original Xbox consoles and games, including Xbox 1 games playable on Xbox 360" as of April 15. The multiplayer gaming service launched in 2002.

Microsoft says it is extending its Xbox Live services in a way that wouldn't be compatible with the older systems.Don't worry about Microsoft's Xbox Live business, though. Bloomberg reported earlier this month that the business is worth a cool $1 billion to Microsoft.

Bing Cashback

Microsoft announced in June plans to shut down Bing Cashback, the service that offered online shoppers cash rebates for buying products after searching for them on Bing.

It appears that the offering, which was based on technology developed by Jellyfish.com, a company Microsoft bought in 2007, didn't do as well as hoped.

Microsoft attracted more than 1,000 merchant partners who offered cash back to shoppers, said Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president for Microsoft's Online Audience Business Group, in a blog post. "But after a couple of years of trying, we did not see the broad adoption that we had hoped for," he wrote.

Response Point VoIP

Microsoft said it will stop selling its Response Point phone system on Aug. 31, clearing the way for its Office Communications Server to lead the company's VoIP charge.The move came as little surprise, because Microsoft moved Response Point to "engineering maintenance status" last year and laid off some employees in the Response Point product group.

The Response Point VoIP system was designed for small businesses with up to 50 employees.

Microsoft Certified Architect Solutions and Infrastructure Certifications

Microsoft says it has discontinued these certifications and is offering for the rest of this year to those with the certifications a one-year membership in the International Association of Software Architects (IASA) and funding to help get an IASA certification, or fund a three-year membership in the Association of Open Group Enterprise Architects (AOGEA). Microsoft says it launched these certifications in 2004, before the industry had other established organizations dedicated to the architectural profession.

Windows Essential Business Server

Microsoft in March announced in a blog post that it would nix further development of EBS after June 30, though it will continue to support the product. One Network World blogger wr

ote at the time of the announcement that the product for midsize businesses was being nixed in part to pave way for the company's new cloud strategy.

In the Microsoft post, the company said it's seen its customers shift away from EBS and "towards technologies such as management, virtualization and cloud computing as a means to cut costs, improve efficiency, and increase competitiveness."

IDG News Service contributed to this report

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