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

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.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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....

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