This month the IBM System 360 turns 50 while Microsoft discontinues support for it's Windows XP operating system.
Fifty years ago on April 7,
announced the computer that the task force had designed, the System/360. [ See Video ]
The system eventually became a huge success for the company -- and a good thing too.
IBM's president at the time, Tom Watson, Jr.,
killed off other IBM computer
lines and put the company's full force behind the System/360. IBM's revenue swelled to $8.3 billion by 1971, up
from $3.6 billion in 1965. Through the 1970s, more than 70 percent of
mainframes sold were IBM's. By
1982, more than half of IBM's
revenue came from descendants of the System/360.
But its impact can be measured by more than just the success it brought to
When an organization bought a new computer in the early 1960s it "generally had to throw out all of its software, or at least rejigger it to work on the new hardware," Spicer said. "There was no idea of having computers that could run compatible software over the generations."
Amazingly, IBM has steadfastly maintained backward compatibility in the decades since. Programs for the original System/360s can still run, sometimes with only slight modification, on IBM mainframes today (which is not to say IBM hasn't aggressively urged customers to upgrade to the latest models for performance improvements).
Compare that longevity to one of IBM's largest competitors in the software market. This month, Microsoft ends support for its Windows XP OS after a mere decade since its release.
And speaking of Windows XP, here is an Alert - If you're one of the tens or even hundreds of millions using the Windows XP operating system on your computer, you may already know that Microsoft announced it would no longer support the product after April 8. If you want to understand more, read Microsoft's Support is ending soon article.
You should also be aware of two important potential scam issues. First, the end of support will likely mean no further security updates for the XP operating system from Microsoft. It's possible that your existing Internet may be sufficient to protect you if you keep it up to date. But then again, it may not. You shouldn’t take a chance, if crooks look to exploit new vulnerabilities in the software. Microsoft has said its own (Microsoft Security Essentials) will continue to be updated "for a limited time." If you use another , check with the producers about their plans for continuing coverage.
Secondly, crooks may also try to use this event as an opportunity to send out a whole host of malware-laden attacks, from pop-ups and phone calls to email attachments and infected websites, claiming you're at risk -- when really they're trying to trick you into installing their malware. Be alert to these risks if you plan to stick with XP.