Microsoft dangles Windows 8, Office 2013 carrots to get SMBs off Windows XP

Microsoft dangles Windows 8, Office 2013 carrots to get SMBs off Windows XP

Summary: Microsoft is offering small and midsize business users a limited-time 15 percent price break on Windows 8 and Office 2013 in the hopes of convincing them to move off Windows XP.


It's no secret that Microsoft is dropping support -- paid and free both -- for Windows XP a year from today, April 8.


Despite that fact, a considerable number of businesses of all sizes still are running Windows XP. According to the latest data from Net Applications, Windows 7 accounted for 44.7 percent of desktop operating-system usage share, with XP still contributing 38.7 percent; Windows Vista 5 percent; and Windows 8, 3.2 percent. The Net Applications chart, embedded in this post, is from March 2013.)

Microsoft's latest upgrade campaign is aimed at these small/midsize business Windows XP users is using cost savings as a way to try to convince them to move ahead of the the April 8, 2014, end-of-support (EOS) date.

SMBs running Windows XP Professional who are willing to go Windows 8 can get a 15 percent discount on Windows 8 Pro and Office Standard 2013 edition pricing between now (April 8, 2013) and June 30, 2013. (The offer is available on up to 100 licenses of Windows 8 Pro and Office 2013 Standard.)

Update: Microsoft sent me revised participation information. A spokesperson said: "Windows 8 Pro and Office Standard 2013 must be purchased together, up to 249 seats each. Since the offer varies by country, a customer would want to connect with their partner for the exact pricing." More details are available on Microsoft's Get2Modern site.

Microsoft's latest blog post about the coming EOS date makes an appeal to businesses still using XP on the security and feature fronts, too.

"While end of support for Windows XP is still one year away, the migration process can take some time and may be costlier the longer you stayon Windows XP, ultimately putting your business at risk. The security landscape is ever-changing and new threats are coming to fruition every day, so it is critical that businesses ensure they protect their data and IP against the latest threats by deploying a modern Windows platform," blogged Erwin Visser, a Senior Director in the Windows division.

The blog post points to a number of migration resources published on Microsoft's site.

(Speaking of end-of-support dates, April 9 is the Microsoft EOS for Windows 7 without Service Pack 1 installed. After tomorrow, those running the plain-old Windows 7 without SP1 won't be getting security updates and other fixes from Microsoft.)

Will those running XP be ready and interested in moving to Windows 8? That's a whole other question. My gut is many of these users would be more comfortable and better equipped to move to Windows 7 than Windows 8, which was built as a touch-centric operating system best suited to working on newer touch hardware....

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Windows, SMBs, Windows 8 in Business


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).

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  • Old Hardware

    Windows 8 runs better on old hardware compared to Window 7. For SMBs its better to move to Windows 8 /Office 2013. It pointless to move to an 'outdated' OS ( Win 7 is 4 years old).

    Big Business are moving to Win 7 because those migrations were in planning for many years, and things move much slowly.
    • you're correct about W8 working better on old hardware

      but there are still the issue of familiarity of the workers with the UI. you may love the W8 UI, but the IT department of a major corporation isn't about to bet every person in their workforce feels the same.
      • The Fuss about Win 8 UI

        I can work a whole day on desktop screen without even seeing the 'Metro screen' once. Pin your daily apps to taskbar or desktop. Windows 8 UI is not an obstacle for getting work done. Once get used, it’s much more efficient than Win 7

        Send out a 5 minutes training video about using Windows 8, and that is enough for even the below average employees to pick up Win 8 in a day’s time. Now if somebody is struggling to use Win 8 after a simple training, better fire them because they are a waste to your enterprise or SMB
        • LOL...

          The fuss about the Win 8 UI is the fact that the desktop mode you're constantly using is going away completely. You Win 8 "fans" will not be able keep using Win 8 as a Win 7 wannabe anymore. The rest of us see the ugly Metro future and won't pay for Microsoft to keep developing it. I can't wait to see your whining when they remove desktop mode. Meanwhile, those of us who weren't suckered into buying Win 8 will keep using a real desktop interface.
          • Not true.

            Where did you get the idea that 'desktop mode is going away'. Those FUDs are spread by haters like SJVN and other anti-MS folks...

            There are million and million of apps running on Desktop and Desktop is here it stay for many decades to come...
          • Owllll1net...THe Metro UI is a total FAIL....End Of Story

            Those flashing tiles are a deal breaker where productivity is needed.
            Over and Out
          • Flashing tiles gives me infomation in a flash.

            Glance and go, no need to open a thousand apps.
          • And then

            You try to open all these applications flashing full of information all at once and you realize you can have only one open at a time.

            Windows 8 is a joke, we laughed when it came out and then we moved on.
          • You are a joke

            Why would you try to open them all at once? Just to prove that you don't know what you are doing?

          • Because

            Some of us are capable of opening and using more than one application at a time. This is how we work, but in your case I can understand that there is no point playing Angry Birds while posting to Facebook, you know the thing you are calling “work”.

            But you cannot understand that because you are as mentally challenged as the retarded Metro UI you are using.
          • You do know you can set up Toolbox

            To immediately open up to six Win 8 apps at once don't you?
          • actually

            In desktop mode, you can use the other 4 million apps and open as many as you want (although you're gonna be focusing on only one at a time).. In metro ui, you actually can use 2 apps side by side WOW!!!.. The real estate distribution will be updated with the blue update making it tad bit easier to use.. You can also use more apps at the same screen via toolbox.. The app quality in metro is pretty weak however, that's changing.. Some of the news apps like news360 and appy geek, news republic, bento news have stolen me from my iOS devices to my win8 laptop.. They look brilliant.. But other genres of apps are a bit out of touch.. As more third party attention comes, they'll improve too I guess..
            And who's this "we" you're talking about?
          • The Modern UI is actually quite good

            Everyone so far that I've moved to Windows 8 in my company has loved the new Modern UI interface. Most of them read about concerns, but none of them have realized any problems by using the new setup. Funny how so many idiots on the internet are so clueless these days.
          • Gives the users more time for coffee...

            or gossip.

            Anything but work.
          • and you, sir should know about being a hater

            MS and windows 8 is competing with itself more than ever - against XP, win7, pirated windows and a general shift toward mobile which they were too late for.

            In general, people don't like metro (yes, some do like it) and the desktop is in decline in general.

            The typewriter is still here after many decades too. Not exactly in large volumes though. This is the future of windows desktop.
          • Not a good comparision

            Productivity applications will run in desktop for many decades to come. Mainframes has a non-graphical UI from the 70's and will remain so...
          • Microsoft announced the end of the desktop

            Microsoft has already announced that they are killing the desktop and they also announced that regular Windows is also going away to be replaced by RT. Microsoft is going to abandon Windows altogether. They basically admitted that Windows is not an operating system for the modern world and that RT which is a brand new OS. It will not and can not run any existing software. Just like you can not run Windows on iOS you will also not be able to run Microsoft software on RT. Microsoft users can no longer to expect their software to run from release to release. This is very disturbing and all because they want to increase their appeal to kids.
          • Could you please back it up

            AFAIK, Windows 8 is still available and Windows RT is also. If you are talking about WinRT, it is runtime that also allows to run Modern UI apps on both Windows RT and Windows 8.
            Ram U
          • greed is the name of the game

            not to mention profit over practicality!
          • Lun-A-Tic

            nuff said...