Businesses tell Microsoft "We're done with XP"

Businesses tell Microsoft "We're done with XP"

Summary: Businesses take their time with OS upgrades. Now that we've passed the one-year anniversary of Windows 7, the results are in, with multiple studies confirming that enterprise adoption rates are way up, and XP is toast.

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Last month, when we passed the one-year anniversary of Windows 7, I noted that Microsoft executives seemed "relaxed and genuinely confident" about consumer adoption rates. Selling 240 million copies in a year will do that for you.

Yesterday, I checked in with a senior Microsoft executive whose job is to closely monitor corporate adoption rates of Windows 7. If I had to choose one word to describe the demeanor of Gavriella Schuster, general manager of Windows Product Management, it would be relieved.

Schuster's counterparts on the consumer side of the Windows team get to watch upgrades play out in real time. Big business, on the other hand, moves far more slowly. As I noted back in April 2009, when Windows 7 was still in the beta phase: "Businesses need a year or so after a new Windows version is released to test their in-house software for compatibility and to plan a thoughtful migration strategy." Now that we're past the 12-month mark, those plans are crystallizing, and Microsoft's execs can finally exhale.

Two new studies suggest that Windows 7 is being adopted at a pace that's downright blazing by corporate standards. My colleague Mary Jo Foley reported the details of a Forrester Research study yesterday: 90 percent of businesses they surveyed expect to migrate to Windows 7, with "46% of firms now reporting that they have already begun or will begin deploying Windows 7 within the next 12 months."

Those results are confirmed by a separate report from Dimensional Research, also released this week. According to that study, commissioned by Dell KACE, "corporate IT has been actively adopting Windows 7 as planned. This survey showed that 38% of participants have implemented a partial roll out of Windows 7 [and] 6% of participants are now fully deployed on Windows 7." Another 30% are still in the test phase of their Windows 7 deployments.

Microsoft's internal data back those numbers up as well. According to Schuster, nearly 90% of companies have already started their formal migrations to Windows 7.

Ironically, one question on that same KACE study triggered a slew of misleading headlines earlier this week. A post from ZDNet UK blogger David Meyer highlighted one result from the survey suggesting that 48% of the IT pros surveyed "intend to carry on using Windows XP even after extended support for the venerable operating system ends in 2014." Not surprisingly, ComputerWorld picked up on the same inflammatory headline.

A closer look at the data paints a very different picture. Yes, roughly half of businesses will continue to run some PCs on XP after its expiration date. Some of those XP instances will be in virtual machines, others will be running specialized software that can't be upgraded and can't easily be abandoned. But the total number of PCs in this group is likely to be very small, akin to the small proportion of Windows 2000 and even Windows 98 machines stubbornly hanging on today.

I asked Schuster whether Microsoft has any internal statistics to measure how many corporate PCs are being bought with Windows 7 licenses and downgraded to XP. "We can't track that," she told me. "All we have is anecdotal evidence. We heard about it when they were downgrading before. We're not hearing that now." In fact, Schuster says, the overwhelming message from CIOs at the recent Gartner CIO Summit was blunt: "We're done with XP."

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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228 comments
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  • As it should be.

    Those that still aren't moving on are simply wasting money. Simple as that.

    There are many benefits to upgrading, and I'm glad to see businesses are seeing that.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • It seems to me....

      @Cylon Centurion 0005

      we have been around this pointless argument just too many times, with people like you apparently believing that they know what is best for everyone else, despite knowing absolutely nothing about their circumstances.

      Are you smart enough to understand what I just said?
      Economister
      • Yet

        @Economister

        That last line is more than enough to ruin what the rest of your post says. You can step off the high horse, thanks.


        Nowhere did I say you [i]have[/i] to upgrade, but the truth is, continuing to run XP on front line machines is going to start hurting (If not already) more than it will help. Especially if you wait to the last minute to upgrade. Businesses should be spending the money now to train and upgrade users.

        It's not that hard to figure out.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • High horses

        @Cylon Centurion 0005<br><br>Lecturing and disparaging other people about their decisions and choices is NOT "getting on a high horse"?<br><br>Clearly, you are not smart enough, which I guess I should have gathered anyway.
        Economister
      • RE: Businesses tell Microsoft

        Actually, there isn't much 'training' to be done. Windows XP and Windows 7 are SO SIMILAR that any user could immediately start using Windows 7 after it is installed on their computer, no training necessary.
        Lerianis10
      • RE: Businesses tell Microsoft

        @Lerianis10

        You'd be surprised how dumb many computer users can be, you so much as move a desktop icon and they'll flip out.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Businesses tell Microsoft

        @Economister
        You know nothing about business if you don't see the advantages in upgrading. Windows 7 works WONDERS if paired with a Windows Server 2008 infrastructure. You really don't know what you're talking about.
        Droid101
      • RE: Businesses tell Microsoft

        @Economister

        The Econmister doth protest too much, methinks!

        Perhaps it is he who has the inferior intellect...
        happyharry_z
      • RE: Businesses tell Microsoft

        @Economister

        Since it would seem it's unlikely you work in an IT department, it does seem that someone else will tell you when it's time to upgrade. The people who make those decisions for you at the office.

        This is an article on business PCs yet you must stick your nose in, and insinuate that someone isn't "smart", because you don't want to upgrade your home PC. We get it. $100 is a small fortune for you. Perhaps you should work on better funds, especially with a name like Economister. And yes, get off your high horse. No one, and I mean absolutely no one, cares if you ever upgrade your home PC. Or any other PC you come into contact with.
        LiquidLearner
      • "any user could immediately start using Windows 7"

        @Economister
        Ummmm, no. People said the same about Office 2007 being just like Office 2003 and that was an equally false assertion. Recently I've been working almost exclusively with engineers...mostly design engineers and process engineers...and there has been significant training involved with both uprades from Windows XP to Windows 7 and with upgrades from Office 2003 to Office 2007. These upgrades have also forced upgrades on AutoCad, SolidWorks and PADS PCB design software. The productivity gains from all these upgrades and training? Nada. Zip. Zilch. No productivity gains, no major new capabilities, just a lot of costs.
        jasonp@...
      • Thanks for that report "from the field"

        @jasonp@...

        This is my basic point: If you do an evaluation and decide that an upgrade is the best thing for you, then you obviously do it (if you can finance it). If however, for whatever reason, you decide that an upgrade is not your best option, you stay with what you've got. The "do nothing" option is unfortunately too often forgotten.

        The posters around here who keep blowing their horn that everybody must upgrade, otherwise you are somehow stupid or incompetent, are just dimwits, plain and simple, and I do not apologize for pointing that out to them at times, even if they and others protest loudly.
        Economister
      • I'd like to see references to these claims.

        @jasonp@...: [i]People said the same about Office 2007 being just like Office 2003 and that was an equally false assertion.[/i]

        It's possible a handful of people made such a claim but I haven't read anything where people claimed Office 2007 was similar to Office 2003. To the contrary everything I've read indicated people understood the concern of upgrading to Office 2007 because it was so different.
        ye
      • RE: Businesses tell Microsoft

        @Economister

        Actually, it wasn't Cylon that first questioned someone's intelligence. Please follow the thread.
        PlayFair
      • RE: Businesses tell Microsoft

        @Economister:
        You make a valid point about doing a rational analysis. But you are missing a big thing: business WILL have to migrate at some point, and that point is not that far out in the future. Supportability is a huge issue for most companies, they cannot operate in an unsupported platform. It is way better to begin rolling out now than when there are only months of support left, even if there weren't advantages to the product. And there are MANY advantages for the vast majority of enterprises. Maybe the users won't notice them, but things such as decent certificate autoenrollment, working client-side-caching, way more robust security, better policies, directaccess, peercache, a faster networking stack, more resiliency, better printing subsystem, better ability to run without admin privileges, and many, many more make Windows 7 a huge money saver for all but a tiny fraction of the companies. But that's not the point. The point is that Windows XP will not be supported forever. So even if you are on that tiny fraction, you are dumb not to be preparing for the move.
        herbys67
      • Economister gets hammered by the shills

        @Economister <br><br>Don't you know you're supposed to jump up and bend your head back like a PEZ everytime a new goodie comes out of Redmond?<br><br>Little @Cylon Centurion 0005 Nicholas has been called out on this crap before. Why would somebody constantly push upgrades here on a weekly basis if they weren't getting paid for it.<br><br>I personally wouldn't give Redmond another dime unless I had to. You still have 3 years left on XP and like you, I will make the most of it.
        ahh so
      • No, i'm with Eco' on this one

        @Economister .. His point is patently obvious: the *only* persons that know what's best for their respective organizations is the I.S/I.T Departments for those respective orgs .. not some casual bunch of self-righteous, outsiders.<br><br>It is really a no brainer, that any medium-large business (i.e. 100+ workstations) right through to large enterprise (1000+ workstations) will have done due diligence by now: that is, feasibility studies, cost analysis, risk analysis and in some cases - for internal customers (i.e. staff), if needs be, re-initiating a D.U.R phase.<br><br>Moving right along, somewhere along the logical process chain, the Administrative personnel (i.e. I.T Dept.) will almost certainly have weighed up the pros and cons; things to consider, typically, such as the degree to which legacy apps play in relation to current interoperability with current OS's (e.g. XP and to a lesser degree Win NT). Which, when all things are considered, are *not* things to be taken lightly by any data center Administrator. <br><br>So, going right back to what Economister has implied, that is solely a matter for each, respective business (small to SME) or corporate (large enterprise), I.T Dept. to decide. Anyone who says otherwise isn't worth their salt and obviously doesn't engage their brain before commenting.<br><br>(Disclaimer: this post is, in no way, meant to denigrate W7. I'm merely stating that this is solely a matter (will *always* be that way) - as business / enterprise goes - for each business entity to decide based on well informed, well researched and sound requirements analysis. End of story.)
        thx-1138_
      • Yup... But you can't tell that to Economeister and the rest of his lot...

        @Lerianis10
        They HAVE to have something to grasp onto in an argument when they play the "training" card. That's why you continue to hear stuff like "But then there's all the retraining of the staff... It's gonna cost an arm and a leg and your first born!"

        Don't get me wrong - I'm in complete agreement. If anything 7 should take the average corporate drone about 5 minutes to learn and maybe an hour to master. That's covering the basics - the start button, the start menu and the task bar. AND it's easy enough they should be able to figure it out on their own. No need for some expensive corporate trainer.

        IT staff only pull this card out when they feel their own manhood/womanhood threatened because they are experts at XP and don't feel the urge to learn how to do things on 7 - even if it's simpler, easier and faster.
        Wolfie2K3
      • You're probably still running...

        @Economister

        ...NT Server too, then. Replicating across to your backup server using some kind of FTP agent, probably once each night. Making your users carry flash drives from PC to PC.

        It's easy to forget that the entire business infrastructure - workstations, networks, servers, and software - are there to support the processes of a business. If you're in any way slowing down those processes, then you are slowly draining the pockets of the other departments. Comparatively, IT departments are typically only a small part of the overall budget of a company - unless it is dragging down the business processes and consequently syphoning money from every other department.

        I think that makes a pretty compelling argument for upgrading every now and again. I don't believe that one must upgrade every time a new product hits the street, but at the same time.... XP? Come on! That's like shopping at the local Goodwill for software at this point...!?
        rock06r
      • I can tell you this, wolfie pal

        [i]IT staff only pull this card out when they feel their own manhood/womanhood threatened because they are experts at XP and don't feel the urge to learn how to do things on 7 - even if it's simpler, easier and faster.[/i]

        That this is no doubt the result of all those crappy MCSE diploma mills that are out and about.

        No wonder most of you corporate tools are so narrow-minded.
        ahh so
    • RE: Businesses tell Microsoft

      We'll change when (a) our apps won't run on newer hardware, and/or (b) it becomes more expensive to maintain XP than the alternative.

      Don't hold your breath.
      Dorkyman