“Few products have impacted more people than Windows XP. Microsoft officially launched the operating system -- the first for consumers based on the NT kernel -- on Oct. 25, 2001. That's right, 10 years ago today. But PC manufacturers started offering XP systems in early September 2001, a week before terrorist attacks against New York City and Northern Virginia. XP is the most popular Windows version ever released. Even today, depending on the analyst crunching numbers, more people use Windows XP than any other PC operating system (although Windows 7 is nearly tied).
Windows XP is a workhorse. Microsoft kept it in market longer than any other Windows version, allowing a very stable ecosystem of third-party applications and products to evolve around it. The operating system fulfilled the vision set for Windows 95 six years earlier -- release of stable, 32-bit code suitable for businesses and consumers. Microsoft's biggest development challenge: Providing compatibility with games and supporting hardware drivers that wanted access to the kernel, which NT blocked for security reasons.”