Staples wants to make Windows 8 'worry free' for small businesses

Staples wants to make Windows 8 'worry free' for small businesses

Summary: Staples is building on Microsoft's Windows Upgrade Offer to win more small businesses over to Windows 8.

TOPICS: Windows

Staples introduced on June 2 the "Staples Worry-Free PC Promise," designed to help users, especially small businesses, ease into Windows 8 once it is available.

The new plan, which builds on Microsoft's latest Windows Upgrade Offer for those buying new Windows PCs starting June 2. Microsoft's upgrade plan -- priced at $14.99 and available in 131 markets -- allows those buying Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8 is available to upgrade to Windows 8 Professional for that price.

Staples' version of the offer includes the upgrade -- the $14.99 cost of which Staples is covering via a $15 prepaid Visa card -- plus Windows 8-focused online training tools (downloadable after one purchases Windows 8 Professional) and free Staples phone support through the end of January 2013. To qualify, users must buy a new Windows 7 PC from Staples by November 17, 2012.

Staples' take on the Windows Upgrade offer is interesting because Microsoft is positioning the program as aimed primarily at consumers. From what I've heard, the back-to-school market is in the Softies' sights with the program, given that Windows 8 PCs aren't likely to be available until later in the fall, even though the Windows 8 operating system may RTM as early as July, according to tipsters.

But Staples is targeting small businesses, not consumers, with the "Worry-Free PC Promise."

Citing its own Staples Small Business Index as the source, Staples officials said 64 percent of small business owners perform their own information technology (IT) and/or network maintenance.  Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed are using company-owned tablets. And 70 percent of those "aware of Windows 8 already have upgrade plans in place," the officials added.

Microsoft officials have said they expect to defer between $450 million and $550 million of revenue related to the Offer, which will result in a reduction in Q4 FY 2013 revenue. Microsoft plans to continue to defer revenues related to Windows 7 sales during the offer period, which runs through January 31, 2013.

Topic: Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Now, if only Microsoft can get rid of the mystery meat UI . . .

    Great to see Staples is helping people.

    Now, if only Microsoft can get rid of the mystery meat in the Metro UI. Problem is, if you don't know where to look, you won't find many often used features.
    • Have you used it?

      It's really not that hard to find things. You just type what you want to find. I don't see that as being difficult. JMO.
      • The problem is still there.

        Typing doesn't fix anything. It's more of a band-aid to get around the fact that the UI has problems. The problems still need to be fixed.
      • What exactly do you do with it?

        At work I generally have, on average, a couple of Excel spreadsheets open as ell as a couple of Word docs. I have Outlook open on one of my dual screens and two copies of IE, one on each screen and each with multiple tabs. I have other programs and tooles up as well that require frequent access. I don't think that for the average corporate, and possible small business user, that this is unusual. Question: with 8s propensity to running apps in full screen why would I possibly want to upgrade to such a scenario. How will Windows 8 support such a common work method in the work environment?
        • The desktop is not going away

          You might want to read a bit about it before asking dumb questions.
  • Windows 7 or Death

    In my company of less than 25 employees, we upgraded our front office to Windows 7 and Office 2010 a couple of years ago. Our back office systems were upgraded to SBS 2011 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in 2011.

    We'll run this software as along as Microsoft supports it. After that, I could see us switching to Linux.

    Microsoft is clearly trying to force the end of the desktop PC paradigm with Windows 8; perhaps rightly so as it seems there is little money to make from this market...or at least as far as they're concerned there isn't. Our office will be reliant on the desktop PC beyond the foreseeable future. I can't see us ever migrating to any product like Windows 8.
    • Just in...

      Win8 supports the desktop.

      Just because they changed the start menu it doesn't mean that the desktop is dead.

      Grow up.
      • Not only that ...

        ... but corporate IT departments may even come to like Metro once they start using it to develop their bespoke apps and to replace internal websites. If Microsoft haven't already planned something like 'internal app stores' for corporate IT departments using AD, they ought to start working on it.

        I gather a lot of corporate IT departments in the 1980s viewed PCs with graphical interfaces as toys unsuitable for corporate use. We all know how that worked out. There is undoubtedly a place for touch-centric devices like tablets too.
    • Windows 8 = Windows 7 + Dashboard

      That last paragraph didn't make any sense. If anyone is forcing anything, it's the consumer, and your only alternative is for Microsoft to fall further behind. And no money in the PC market? Is that why Windows 7's desktop is right behind the Start Screen in Windows 8?
  • Change in computing Dynamics

    We tend to always be behind the curve of change. Globalisation has happened and computing software is making that change. MSF8 is that next wave of evolution. All the other OS will make that change also to remain competitive. Businesses will have to also change their systems, the sooner the better, to stay with that curve. It's all about speed and if you are not on point you will be left behind.
  • Windows 8 is a specifically consumer tablet model

    I can understand the comments by small business users who will upgrade & stay on 7. I really don't think 8 is even trying to get businesses to embrace it. Microsoft will likely see where they're at when they get to Windows 9 and 10 to bring it down a notch if they want businesses to upgrade after 2020, the support cutoff date (unless extended like XP) for Windows 7. I get the impression though that they assumed businesses would skip this one anyway and deploy 7.
    D.J. 43
    • Odd numbers for business and even for socialites

      I agree. We are just beginning to migrate to Widows 7 (100,000+). It will be many years before we do this again. The only thing that makes logical sense to me is that Microsoft was never interested in Windows 8 for business as Windows 7 will continue to grow in that environment for quite some time. It would be smart to target both markets, but the one-size-fits-all method is doomed to fail. Frankly I am too 'business-like' even outside of work to upgrade to a silly social networking/shopping tool that provides no real value to the way I work. I totally see how Win 8 is good for tablets. I get it, and when I have a need for one I'll pick one up, but you'll never see Windoews 8 on any of my desktops. How about Windows 9 that improves on Windows 7? I love Windows 7 but there are a whole lot of things that can be improved on it.
  • Need to use it to know it

    Corporates tend to upgrade every other version of Windows (in my experience working as a consultant with many of the top 100 blue chips in the UK). Many skipped Vista and that means most have just upgraded to Windows 7. The re-imagining of Windows at Windows 8 makes a lot of sense. Microsoft know most corps are now on Windows 7 and most will wait for Windows 9 before upgrading again. That gives end users time to get used to Windows 8 at home, or on their tablets, mobiles etc. Granted I think many corps will upgrade mobile devices such as tablets to Windows 8 though, no matter where they are in their upgrade cycle, simply becuase if you thinking tablets are good for your business, then a windows 8 is the most logical option.

    When Windows 9 comes out that is when we will see mass adoption of the new Metro fied Windows in the workplace, and to be honest, the workplace will be better off. I have been running my companies here with most of us now on Windows 8. Though we dont really have the metro apps available for business (as yet) the metro apps we do use are pretty good, and the metro home screen is very good. Its far quicker to access the business apps we use, and its good to be able to see a dashboard type of environment on a dedicated screen (most of us run at least 2 screens). After that, everything we do on Windows 7 we can do on Windows 8. Metro isnt the end of the desktop environment, rather its the end of the start button...Thats all for the business desktop....