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chromeMicrosoft is ending all support for Windows XP in April 2014, and doing its best to move users to newer versions of its desktop operating system. But Google isn’t letting go so easily.

Google said this morning that will continue to support Chrome on Windows XP for an “at least” extra year beyond the end-of-life for Windows XP, continuing to provide updates and patches for its browser on XP until April 2014.

“We recognize that hundreds of millions of users, including a good chunk of current Chrome users, still rely on XP,” said Google executive Mark Larson in a blog post this morning announcing the news. “Moreover, many organizations still run dozens or even hundreds of applications on XP and may have trouble migrating. Our goal is to support Chrome for XP users during this transition process. Most importantly, Chrome on XP will still be automatically updated with the latest security fixes to protect against malware and phishing attacks.”

The move is a poke in the eye to Microsoft, and it could put users at risk by encouraging them to remain on Windows XP even after security updates for the underlying operating system are discontinued.

But it’s also a pragmatic move given the large number of people still using Windows XP at home and at work — more than 31 percent as of last month. Here’s a graphic showing the breakdown of worldwide desktop OS usage.

 

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