Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

Summary: Microsoft might want to exorcise Windows XP and Vista from the world's PCs (because if you're running old software, you've not given Microsoft any cash in a while), but the company's own attitudes to how consumers get their hands on operating systems is a big part of the reason why people are running old operating systems.

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Microsoft might want to exorcise Windows XP and Vista from the world's PCs (because if you're running old software, you've not given Microsoft any cash in a while), but the company's own attitudes to how consumers get their hands on operating systems is a big part of the reason why people are running old operating systems.

The king of the operating systems is still XP, an OS that powers some 60% of corporate systems and around 50% of systems overall. By comparison, Vista's corporate presence is down to just over 6% (for comparison, Mac OS X is at 11% and Linux at 1.4%). Windows 7 is at a healthy 21%. These corporate numbers match overall worldwide usage share pretty closely.

OK, so what can Microsoft do to help boost adoption of new versions of Windows? Well, when it comes to corporate systems, my colleague Ed Bott is right when he says that 'When it comes to Windows, businesses like being on the last version, not the current one.' It's as fact of life.

But what about home users?

This is where Microsoft is lacking. Rather than try to sell consumers the next version of Windows, Microsoft has relied on OEMs to push new PCs (new PCs running the new OS) at consumers. This way Microsoft can focus on selling Windows licenses to OEMs, and let the OEMs do the hard work of selling Windows (with a new PC attached) to consumers.

It's been a winning model for decades, but in recent years it's hit a speed bump for a trifecta of reasons - people aren't spending like they used to; what they are spending on is being spread across a broader range of technologies (smartphone, tablets, etc); and because people's PCs are lasting longer than they used to. So, while Microsoft is making money, it's in a position where it's not making anywhere near as much cash as it could be making because more than half of the systems out there are running an OS that hasn't see a service pack in over three years.

Microsoft also fouled up with Windows Vista/7 but not building in a direct upgrade path to it from Windows XP. This meant that a huge percentage of Windows users had to nuke their systems and start from scratch. This might be the preferred upgrade path for power users, but for ordinary users this is a huge effort to contemplate.

Microsoft needs to realize that people want access to the latest OS without having to buy a new PC. This means that three things need to be in place for them:

  • Easy access to the update ... over the Internet make sense. This is a no brainer. If having as many users as possible on the latest version of Windows is important to the ecosystem, then make access to the new version as easy as possible.
  • Cheap upgrade price. Cheaper the upgrade, the more people will buy it. I don't need to draw a diagram explaining this, do I? A Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade costs $120, which in my opinion is at least $60 too expensive.
  • 'No-drag'upgrade path Ordinary folks (not like you and me, we're special ...) want an easy upgrade mechanism that involves a few clicks, making a cup of coffee and then coming back to a PC running a new OS. If you make it complicated by demanding that folks wipe their systems and stuff like that, people will get understandably nervous. Stop giving people reasons NOT to install your new OS!

Come on Microsoft, it's really not that hard!

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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  • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

    I'm sticking to XP and once there is no longer any support I'm switching to Linux, at least just to check it out.
    MiniDisc Man
    • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

      @MiniDisc Man <br>You are totally missing out on Windows 7, as an Apple fan I can only say it's the best OS around, I have it installed on 3 machines. Linux is for servers... that's another discussion.
      Hasam1991
      • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

        I agree. Windows 7 is quite nice. I run 3 PC's at home and work with Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

        I like a few things better on XP, but now that I am used to it I definitely prefer 7. Even Windows Vista is not so bad anymore now that I am used to it, it's been patched, and developers are caught up with software that runs right on it.

        On the other hand, I don't think Windows 7 is worth upgrading from XP for. There is nothing in 7 that I find all that compelling to justify the cost, risk, or effort. I would just wait and get it on my next new PC, and while at it, go for 64 bit.
        pkngresq34
      • You're obviously not an Apple fan

        @Hasam1991: However, that's not to say that Win7 isn't the best version of Windows yet, it is. The problem is that the change from XP to Win7 is almost like the change from XP to OS X--very different until you get used to it. There's a lot to dislike about Win7 when you first upgrade, but once you're familiarized with the changes and personalize its functions to your own taste, Win7 is quite good.

        On the other hand, it still requires far too much hands-on maintenance for my taste. It still requires the use of a Registry Cleaner and other maintenance software to really keep it running efficiently over time; something not needed with OS X. People are noticing and when considering the differences, not all WinXP users are buying into 7, but rather a small percentage of them are trying and using OS X which is part of why OS X's market has grown more than 500% in the last 5 years.

        Most consumers that stick with Windows now do so because they're used to the environment. New users are looking at real choice and making decisions based on their own needs.
        Vulpinemac
      • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

        @vulpine [i]You're obviously not an Apple fan[/i]

        Well, if he is he needs to be reprogrammed.
        Badgered
      • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

        @Hasam1991
        You are right. I have three Macs at home, but readily admit that Windows 7 is superior to Snow Leopard. I do hope that Lion will change that. I will be downloading it the first day it is available.
        MichaelWells
      • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

        [i]Well, if he is he needs to be reprogrammed.[/i]

        Into the Borg Collective.

        Brainwashing is near!

        Blind obedience is [i]essential[/i]!
        blind obedience
      • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

        @vulpine

        there is no complications in XP to 7 and there never was. So what Windows 7 setup moves the current installation to a Windows.old folder and allows you to cut and paste to the new location. OMG that is so hard, Blah Excuses!! bottom line is that if you haven't migrated to 7 your just lazy. your so lazy you haven't even looked at the upgrade tool that tells you just this.

        For Real Upgrading to 7 isn't that big of a Deal, and it definitely doesn't require a format, or total Clean installation. Those of you who think that it does, are just total idiots, fo real!!!!!!!!
        Ez_Customs
      • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

        @Hasam1991 "Linux is for servers..." ...and phones, toasters, supercomputers, and folks who want old machines with new operating systems. Oh, and my new laptop.
        james.vandamme
    • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

      @MiniDisc Man I love Windows 7, but with a problem in my big system and lack of money I am on a 10 year old Dell running Windows XP. And for 90% of what i need to do it is still one hot system. My system drive is 15g and the installed xp with Office 97, .net framework and visual Studio only uses 8g. I know, I know storage is cheap, cpu cycles no longer have meaning, but this old system still rocks.... Yet I'll be back to W7 as soon as I can get the parts.
      RayInLV
      • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

        @RayInLV Hey, Old computers rock! It's the momumental lie of the computer industry that we need to swap out computers every couple of years. Just keep your components in good repair, take care of it and use the software it was intended for (most of which you can find for free now) and there's very little that your ten year old system can't do.
        teddybairs1
      • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

        @RayInLV Try openSUSE Linux. I can run it on a 1.8GHz 32-bit single-core Sempron laptop with 512MB and pitiable graphics ability and a 4200RPM hard drive.

        A full openSUSE install is under 3GB not including swap space (like Windows page file). That includes a full office suite (LibreOffice/OpenOffice), the photo editing software GIMP, bittorrent client, full-featured e-mail, PIM, contact client, VoIP software, Flash, Java, PDF reader, archiver, Firefox, audio/video player, iTunes-like audio file manager, graphic file manager, etc. Adding in basic development tools brings the install to 3.1GB.

        If you're into programming, there's an unbelievable amount of programming tools in every language imaginable. Since money's an issue, there's also a great deal of free software available to replicate or surpass the function of most commercial software - and for the rest, there's the WINE compatibility libraries that can run many Windows programs under Linux as well as VirtualBox to run them in a virtual machine if you have to.

        I had a screwed up XP install and no spare money to upgrade to Win7 a year ago and gave openSUSE a shot. Well, I gave some other Linux distros a shot first, but they didn't work out. I decided to try one more, and installed a test partition with openSUSE. Well, I've been using the "test" install for just over one year now. :-) There's a great deal of documentation (several PDF guides on installation, fine-tuning, a few hundred page (!) guide on security, etc) and it gives you all of the important features of Win7 plus some extras for free. A nice side benefit is that it provides something fun to play with and explore for no cost. I'm so glad I switched - not only did I replicate all my past functionality from Windows, but I found a few Linux-only programs that were much better than what I was using on Windows before (such as Banshee for music/podcast/video file management and Okular for PDF and document viewing).

        If you've got any questions, feel free to email me at zdnet.15.alcalde@spamgourmet.com .
        jgm@...
    • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

      @MiniDisc Man
      I switched to Linux [Ubuntu] during the Vista fiasco and have not looked back. I think you'll be happy with the switch.
      carlson1@...
      • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

        @carlson1@...
        Same here. Running 11.04 now and haven't spend more a few dollars for the electricity and bandwidth to do so.
        tmsbrdrs
      • Vista sealed the Linux deal!

        @carlson1@...
        A Vista laptop sealed the Linux deal here! That sad laptop was a Vista-powered time machine, as in "Wait for it, wait for it!" Seven-minute boots. Then I installed Ubuntu. It was hard to believe it was the same hardware, because suddenly it was snappy and responsive. I gave it to my mother! That also solved my Windows support problems, 'cuz Ubuntu -- in my experience -- just works. I haven't had a single support call in a year. I have not looked back.

        It was icing on the cake when I installed Ubuntu on my triffling-horsepower netbook. The upgrade from XP was not as striking there, improving the netbook's performance from underpowered to good. Good enough that it became my desktop replacement! Good enough that I avoided the "forced upgrade march" to the next version of Vista (aka Win7) and the hardware to support it. Instead I spent $110 on the parts of my machine that were slow: the wirless-g and the HD. With a small SSD, I get 30-second boots with Ubuntu, on a machine that most people dismiss as underpowered. At $7 for a surplus pci card, the wireless-n upgrade was well worth the price, too.

        Unless you're playing games that are Windows-only, Linux Rules.
        optimoz
    • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

      @MiniDisc Man You are missing out on Windows 7. It's much improved over XP. I have nothing bad to say about it. I've been using it from the start.
      sully0208
      • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

        @sully0208 I upgraded my old laptop to 7 from XP and it sure wasn't worth the cost of the software. I guess 7 is good, but XP was just fine for me.
        alfitz@...
    • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

      @MiniDisc Man

      You can try Ubuntu without clobbering your XP installation by using a Live CD. Your only cost will be download time, and the price of a 700 MB cd. If you care to go that route, and <i>try it</i> from the Live CD, it will be "sluggish" due to the fact that modules are loaded from the CD as needed.

      Should you decide to actually install Ubuntu <b>to co-exist with Windows XP</b> in a dual boot configuration, I would suggest that you get a second hard drive; and install Ubuntu to it all by itself. To do this, you need to be comfortable going inside your machine, and adding a second drive. It is not for the squeamish.
      fatman65535
    • Do yourself a favor ...

      @MiniDisc Man ... at least borrow some Windows 7 media from a friend and install a trial copy of Windows 7 on a small partition before you make a final decision here. You can renew such a trial for up to 120 days before you have to buy an upgrade license and you will see how much better Windows 7 is compared to Windows XP. Then do the same with Linux. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
      M Wagner
    • RE: Microsoft needs to stop giving people reasons NOT to upgrade Windows!

      @MiniDisc Man
      A new operating system has to offer something that the present system does not. That's why no one wants to switch to a new operating system.... XP is fine for business and the home user.
      orca1@...