Business users had enjoyed a workable and stable operating system for some while. Since the days of Windows 3.1, Windows NT was slowly being crafted into what became Windows 2000. This was a proper 32-bit operating system which did not have DOS holding it up.
It had been Microsoft's intention to bring together home and business operating systems for a while, and when it happened, we got Windows XP
Not all plain sailing..
The problem for home users was that XP took up more room on a hard drive and required more memory, at least four times the amount that Windows 9x/ME ever did. Also, quite a lot of hardware was pushed to the sidelines because there were no specific XP drivers.
For the end user, hardware like printers, scanners and webcams, had enjoyed a six year run, and were not used to the hardware not working and becoming obsolete. This is what happened as the manufacturers of peripheral devices took the chance to force users to buy new equipment by not issuing XP drivers.
Software authors followed suit and, all of a sudden, programs which had been so popular were obsolete too. Software authors had been adding code to their stuff such that if a Windows 9x operating system was not found, the software would not install.
Microsoft were blamed for all of it.
In the offices..
Business users had been using Windows 2000 which was like a maximum security block in a prison. This is exactly what they wanted of course. When XP installed, it was more like a public park with gates. It could be locked down but took some effort, more than System Admins had been used to putting in.
The SP1 update came along, and then SP2 which was a massive rewrite of XP, over five million lines of code being overwritten by it. Now XP was a good operating system.
It was earmarked to be replaced in 2004 but something went badly wrong..