Microsoft: Staying on Win XP will cost Indian biz

With less than a year to go until support for Windows XP runs out, Microsoft warns Indian businesses they will have to pay hundreds of dollars per user for not migrating to a newer Windows OS.

Microsoft is warning Indian businesses they would have to pay hundreds of dollars per seat if they choose to remain on its Windows XP operating system, which will reach its end-of-life in 2014. This cost excludes possible penalties should they run afoul of industry regulations due to their persisting with the OS, it notes.

Citing a study it commissioned analyst firm IDC to conduct, Microsoft said in a statement Thursday that the opportunity cost of not upgrading is substantial. In a scenario where the company has no enterprise license agreement in a 3-year ammortization period, the total operating system migration cost is US$95 per seat/user.

MS XP India 2
(Source: Microsoft)

By comparison, the cost of not migrating will be approximately US$300 per seat/user for the first year, followed by almost double the cost in the subsequent 12 months, should they choose to opt for a custom support contract to stay on Windows XP after Microsoft ends support for the OS on April 8, 2014 , the study showed.

IDC said the difference in cost is primarily due to the extended support and additional cost of support due to "incompatible devices/apps/drivers".

Furthermore, the above cost comparison does not include costs related to "business loss due to security and data breach threats, productivity loss and other similar factors", the company stated.

The software vendor added companies in the banking sector, in particular, would put itself at risk of falling foul of regulations if they stick with the aging OS. Data security and data privacy in banks are driven by ITAA 2008, and combined with strict regulations from the Reserve Bank of India, companies in the sector will not only be answerable for the loss of revenue but severe penalties resulting from the flouting of industry rules, it said.

Amrish Goyal, director of the Windows Business Group at Microsoft India, said between 50 percent and 60 percent of the installed PC base in enterprises in India still run Windows XP. "This is an alarming situation as non-migration puts businesses at risk of security breaches and could potentially create a big dent to the company's brand image," he said.

Microsoft also identifed Bharti Airtel as an example after it migrated from Windows XP to Windows 7. By doing so, the telco has saved INR 2,000 (US$37) per PC, it said.

The software giant had earlier highlighted South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan as the three markets in Asia-Pacific with the highest number of PCs still powered by Windows XP . South Korea has about 14.81 million PCs with the OS, while Indonesia has 11.46 million and Taiwan has 8.86 million, Redmond stated.