Although usage of Windows XP in businesses improved to 38 percent of business PCs in the 2005Q1, a recent study shows that nearly four years after that operating system originally shipped (October 2001), it still trails behind its predecessor Windows 2000, found in 48 percent of business PCs. While a 10 percent difference doesn't sound like much, the change only marked a 6.6 percent improvement over 2003Q4 and a majority of that change apparently came by way of upgrades from the really outdated versions of Windows such as Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT 4. Windows NT 4 succeeded Windows NT 3.51, the first of the fully 32-bit versions of Windows to get any sort of serious traction.
The slow adoption of Windows XP remains one of Microsoft's biggest challenges to date. Although the company's two major franchises -- Windows and Office -- are still considered cash cows, the "good enough" syndrome -- end users are getting along just fine on older versions of both -- is causing headaches for Microsoft. Not only must the company pay significant attention to multiple code-bases (particularly in the name of critical security updates that protect users as well as the Internet from Microsoft software-borne exploits), it also has hopes of moving customers to the next revision of Windows, codenamed Longhorn. The obvious question is, if it can't move users to Windows XP, how on earth will it get users to move to Longhorn? All of this comes at a time when, for the first time in a long time, the Windows/Office franchise is actually getting some legitimate competition from the open source community (more globally, than domestically).