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APAC SMBs embracing Windows 7 faster

Nearly three-quarters of small and midsize businesses in Asia-Pacific are planning to upgrade to Microsoft's newest operating system, according to new study.

Small and midsize businesses in the Asia-Pacific region are proving to be quicker on the curve when it comes to transitioning to Windows 7, compared with most regions, states a new study by Springboard and Spiceworks.

In a Monday statement, the research firms revealed that 72 percent of SMBs in the region plan to upgrade to Windows 7, which is just 1 percent short of North American SMB figures.

"Large enterprises are following their usual trend of a more measured adoption cycle, but SMBs in Asia are transitioning to Windows 7 at a quick pace," said Michael Barnes, VP of software and Asia-Pacific research, Springboard Research, in the statement.

According to the study, Windows 7 penetration for Asia SMBs has grown an average of 33 percent a month since the operating system's launch in October 2009.

Globally, it was observed that among early adopters who upgraded within the first 90 days of post-launch, firms with fewer than 20 employees upgraded the fastest, at double the rate of other company-size classes, noted the study.

The research combined the findings from two surveys conducted in October and November 2009, which measured Windows 7 pre-launch and post-launch adoption intent. More than 1,500 IT professionals from over 85 countries were polled.

Reasons to upgrade to Windows 7 were different for companies of different sizes. Speed was the number one reason for businesses with fewer than 20 employees, followed by security. For firms with 250 or more employees, manageability was the most important attribute, with speed next.

Money was an issue for companies which do not plan to upgrade. The study found 48 percent of respondents cited the cost-benefit factor as their primary concern, while 32 percent were most worried about hardware and software compatibility.

Most of the upgrades to Windows 7 will be on systems with Windows Vista. Jonathan Silber, senior research manager at Springboard Research, noted that IT professionals were underwhelmed by Windows 7's predecessor.

"It is no surprise then that computers currently running Vista are nearly twice as likely to be migrated to Windows 7 than older Microsoft operating systems," he said.

Windows XP still forms the bulk of operating systems for SMBs in Asia, with 48 percent of them planning to upgrade their Windows XP computers, said Silber.

In an advisory, analyst firm Gartner cautioned companies to move off of Windows XP before the end of 2012 to avoid application support problems, although the software maker will still support Windows XP into April 2014.