Microsoft Dangles Windows 8, Office 2013 SMB Bundle - InformationWeek
01:42 PM

Microsoft Dangles Windows 8, Office 2013 SMB Bundle

One year from the end of Windows XP support, Microsoft offers SMBs 15% off if they upgrade to current versions of Windows and Office simultaneously.

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Office 2013: 10 Questions To Ask
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T minus 365 days and counting: If you're still on Windows XP, you're officially on the clock.

Microsoft will end support for the popular but aged operating system on April 8, 2014 -- one year from today. The company marked the occasion with a reminder for businesses still running the 12-year-old XP: You need bid the OS adieu.

"NOW is the time to move to a more modern Windows operating system and modernize your IT infrastructure," wrote Erwin Visser, senior director of Windows Commercial, in a blog post. "Businesses still running Windows XP are missing out on the tangible benefits of modernizing their IT investments from dramatically enhanced security, broad device choice to meet the needs of a mobile workforce, higher employee productivity and lower cost of ownership by future-proofing their IT investments."

[ Are you ready to make the move? Read Tell Me Again: Why Rush Into Windows 8? ]

It's no revelation that Microsoft's preference would be for companies to upgrade to Windows 8, the latest version, which Visser called "the modern OS for modern businesses." To that end, Microsoft sweetened the pot for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) that are still on XP: SMBs running XP Professional can get 15% off an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro and Office Standard 2013. (Microsoft will end support for Office 2003 on the same day as XP.) The offer is good through June 30 for up to 100 licenses of each. Companies must upgrade both Windows and Office, not one or the other.

While Microsoft had previously run more aggressive offers for Windows 8, the new deal should appeal to SMBs that are already considering a simultaneous upgrade of both Windows and Office.

XP still powers nearly 39% of PCs, according to the latest Net Applications stats. That's second only to Windows 7 (44.48%) in terms of OS market share. Windows 8 has garnered a 3.17% share since its release last year.

Microsoft noted that a move from XP straight to Windows 8 might not make sense for some organizations, such as those that already have a Windows 7 migration in progress. "Recognizing that not all situations are alike, businesses may need to take different approaches to their operating system migrations due to the specific needs of their environment," Visser said. Microsoft has also acknowledged that some companies might be best served with a mix of more than one OS, such as Windows 7 on some machines and Windows 8 on others, depending on user needs and other factors.

Visser's blog post offered another affirmation of the touch-oriented direction of Windows, not just on mobile devices but on PCs as well. Microsoft's enterprise chief urged businesses to consider touch devices -- "whether it is tablets, laptops with touch capabilities, all-in-ones, or other innovative devices" -- as part of any hardware refreshes associated with their Windows migrations.

"This way, companies conducting hardware refresh cycles can benefit from higher productivity of its users in the immediate term, while ensuring that they are modernizing an increasingly higher proportion of their installed PCs with touch capabilities – readying their business for the future Windows platform migrations," Visser said.

While Microsoft calls the April 8 end-of-support date for XP a "deadline," it's not actually one in the truest sense. XP won't suddenly stop working one year from now. And some SMBs have their reasons -- such as legacy apps, tech-laggard customers, or even printer toner -- for planning to keep at least some XP machines running for the foreseeable future.

Just don't expect any security patches or other updates after April 8, 2014 -- or much sympathy in Redmond if things go wrong.

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User Rank: Strategist
4/16/2013 | 6:52:04 PM
re: Microsoft Dangles Windows 8, Office 2013 SMB Bundle
Are you willing to work indefinitely without current security patches and new features? Your boss and IT dept are fools if you do that at work, and at home you are your own fool. Upgrade to Windows 8, learn how to run it in desktop mode (very easy to do on the first day and first boot, and be secure. Skip Win 7, it will be in the same position as XP in a few years. As Win 8 evolves it will become the new XP. If you can remember 12 years ago, everyone had the same reservations and problems with XP.
User Rank: Apprentice
4/9/2013 | 1:28:45 PM
re: Microsoft Dangles Windows 8, Office 2013 SMB Bundle
Nearly 39% of computers still run Windows XP because it works. While it may not have the "bells and whistles" of Windows 7 or 8, users that are performing the same tasks (productivity apps, reading e-mail, etc) have little to gain in upgrading. If a company can't justify the cost, they're going to defer the expense as long as possible.

Discontinuation of support will force current XP users to eventually abandon ship, just as they did for Windows 2000, which was another very stable business oriented operating system. Lack of support for things such as Internet Explorer may send some to Chrome or Firefox, but in the end the upgrade will be inevitable.
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