Re: Windows XP was considered a failure when it was first introduced
It's not that WinXP was a failure, or that SP1 magically fixed everything. Actually it was Microsoft who failed because it released WinXP approximately three years before the average consumer hardware could handle it adequately. This is out of blindness from developing on cutting edge hardware and as usual not considering the customer.
XP arrived in 2001 with Pentium 4, specifically the horrific Willamette initial entry at about 1.3 GHz. Memory was still crappy SDRAM. HDD's were just crossing into 48-bit LBA territory but Windows didn't yet understand it. USB was stuck at 1.x on most consumer machines, especially the ones that launched with WinXP. The Motherboards were not yet the cornucopia of features we now expect. In short, it was still 1990's hardware well into the new century.
It wasn't really SP1 that helped, because XP was still a bloated Windows 2000 + Win9x merger. What helped was the greatly enhanced hardware around 2004 with CPU's well over 2 GHz, Northwood and Prescott cores, big L2 caches, inexpensive DDR RAM, large fast HDD's, common USB 2.0 and associated devices and motherboards filled to the rim with features so that most people only needed to add a video card, and many didn't even need that. Running Windows XP with 1GB or 2GB in this era really shined.
XP got a bonafide second wind when Vista faltered and the machines started going over 3 GHz or more, and more importantly had usable multicores, especially Core2 versions. Now it was fast! These machines are alive and well, and will be for some time, and are one of the reasons that Windows XP still hovers around 40% of all Windows systems.
I would urge people to call Microsoft's and her enablers bluff on this. They have a lot of people snowed with that nonsense: "support will end...", as if Microsoft is somehow carrying these WinXP systems on her poor back. Ignore their push to get you to drop more bucks into their pockets. Run those machines as long as possible just to piss them off. I know I am.