Microsoft keeps reiterating that you should already end your love affair with Windows XP.
So convinced is Microsoft that individuals as well as enterprise customers should shift to a newer Windows operating system – say Windows 7 – that the company sponsored a whitepaper to look into how much costlier it is to deploy Windows XP than Windows 7 in enterprise settings.
The point was made again by Microsoft in a blog post on its Windows for your Business Blog. The post titled Understanding the Business Impact of Windows XP Migration Plans talks about a new whitepaper the company sponsored and made by IDC.
The point of the paper in the end is that Windows XP is quite a costlier operating system to deploy compared to Windows 7 in medium to large enterprises.
The study made by IDC looked into the cost of having Windows XP as the operating system of choice by enterprise customers. What it found from interviews with “nine large organizations that have deployed both Windows XP and Windows 7,” Microsoft says, is that Windows XP is up to five times more costly than Windows 7 to deploy. That’s money you could spend on other things, the Redmond, Washington-based software giant said.
In the conclusion of the whitepaper, IDC said: “Organizations that continue to retain a Windows XP environment not only are leaving themselves exposed to security risks and support challenges, but also are waiting budget dollars that would be better used in modernizing their IT investments.”
Given that the result of the study seems a bit too much self-serving for Microsoft, let’s see how this was analyzed by IDC.
According to the post, the study looked into the risks, user productivity costs and IT labor costs associated with businesses running Windows XP versus Windows 7 to get a sense of what operating system is more cost-effective. The interviews made by IDC, Microsoft explained, were used to “quantify both the IT and end user costs of not migrating to Windows 7.”
Microsoft is still very adamant that users should migrate to Windows 7, although Windows 8 is expected to hit the market this coming October. In fact, Microsoft expects to sell 350 million Windows 7 machines this year even though the launch of Windows 8 will undoubtedly take away sales from Windows 7 in the last quarter of the year. This means that Microsoft expects to sell most of that 350 million from January to September.
In its blog post, Microsoft’s Erwin Visser said: “Staying on Windows XP is an expensive investment when Windows 7 provides dramatic savings.” The reminder from Microsoft comes as Windows XP was found to still be the world’s most popular operating system. That result of that study was released just this month by research firm Net Applications.
Still, the IDC whitepaper offers valid points in convincing people to switch from Windows XP. According to the paper, the longer people wait to switch from XP, the costlier it’s going to get. “IT labor costs go up 25 percent in the fourth year of continuing to run Windows XP past deadline, and user productivity suffers as well, with an increased cost of 23 percent. In the fifth year, IT labor increases by an additional 29 percent, and user productivity costs jump up a staggering 40 percent,” Microsoft wrote.
The post also notes that even though Windows XP was advanced for its time, Windows 7 has eclipsed it. It reminds people of more technologies supported by Windows 7 than Windows XP like integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a better UI and faster performance.
IDC also discovered that in most enterprise deployments of Windows XP, the single biggest part of productivity loss when systems are offline is help desk operation which took more than half of downtime-related support. Windows 7 can reduced that metric by up to 84 percent, the IDC study said.
Furthermore, IDC recommended that “By proactively encouraging the use of modern technology, the IT department is seen as being interested in improving the productivity of users. End users feel empowered to accomplish their jobs with modern tools that improve their productivity and eliminate wasted time resulting from poorly-performing old technology, unnecessary application crashes and operating system reboots.”
Microsoft reminded again at the start of the post that Windows XP is more than a decade old. It’s an old operating system but it still is popular. However, it is truly two generations behind Microsoft’s current OS which is Windows 7. When Windows 8 hits the stores, it will in fact be three generations behind the current OS.
Microsoft has warned us last month that Windows XP is nearing its end of life. In fact, last month marked the start of the official 2-year countdown until Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows XP and Office 2003. This means that by April 8, 2014, Microsoft won’t ever patch Windows XP again. By then, the company expects people to have upgraded to Windows 7 or Windows 8, or better yet, upgraded to Windows 7 and then to Windows 8.
It’s not recommending the blunder which is Windows Vista though. In fact, Microsoft has ended mainstream support for Windows Vista and Office 2007 in a move which puts Windows 7 and Windows 8 as the preferred operating system Microsoft recommends users upgrade to.
As the life cycle of Windows XP nears an end, IDC, in its white paper reminds that “Costs tend to soar when older products are used beyond their intended life cycle.”
It could be hard to convince people to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 though, especially given the praise Windows has endowed on its Windows 8 OS. Steve Ballmer, talking in South Korea last week, said that Windows 8 is the “rebirth” of Windows and that it is the “deepest, broadest and most impactful” Windows operating system Microsoft has made. One of the latest praise Windows 8 has also gotten is that it boots too fast.
With praise like that, maybe it’s no wonder Microsoft is convincing people hard not to wait for Windows 8 and upgrade to Windows 7 from Windows XP.