Microsoft claims Windows XP costs businesses dearly

Microsoft claims Windows XP costs businesses dearly

Microsoft is so keen for businesses to upgrade, it's actively bad-mouthing Windows XP through the mouthpiece of an IDC survey.

Despite extending support for the operating system that wouldn't die, Microsoft is gently pushing users away from Windows XP with the release of a survey claiming that support and management costs are five times higher than with Windows 7.

Originally released in October 2001, Windows XP was the first consumer-centric operating system to be built on the New Technology (NT) kernel. Up until that time, NT-based systems were the domain of servers and professional workstations.

Following the disaster that was Windows ME, Windows XP was a breath of fresh air. Early reviews denigrated the new-look interface - known not-so-fondly as the 'Fisher-Price OS' - but the ability to revert back to a more familiar Windows 2000-style environment helped address those concerns. Users who upgraded found side-by-side assembly - SxS - helped to address DLL issues, the NTFS file system offered improved functionality over FAT32, ClearType boosted text quality on liquid-crystal displays, and fast-user switching made computer use more harmonious in a multi-user household.

Windows XP would rapidly become the company's most popular operating system ever. The release of Windows Vista did little harm: like Windows ME before it, Vista was considered a rushed release and many - businesses in particular - chose to stick with Windows XP and skip at least one generation of Windows.

The release of Windows 7, known to some as the operating system Windows Vista should have been, finally started to make an impact in Windows XP's user base. From its position as the majority platform in 2007, XP is now estimated to sit at under 30 per cent - many of which are business users relying on Microsoft's downgrade offer and the surprise announcement of extended support for the ageing operating system through 2014.

Despite Microsoft extending the support for the OS long past its official deprecation date, the company is doing its best to convince business it's time to switch. A report from market watcher IDC, commissioned by Microsoft itself, claims that the support costs for XP are outrageously high: 11.3 hours of repair time for every Windows XP system was given as an average, compared to just 2.3 hours for a system running Windows 7.

In XP's defence, the survey wasn't exactly exhaustive: to reach its averaged figures, IDC canvassed just nine organisations. The survey also makes little distinction in whether the service calls are due to the age of the operating system or the age of the machines: systems running Windows XP are far more likely to be old and dying hardware than shiny new Windows 7 boxes.

Other figures from the survey, however, paint XP in a very poor light indeed: operational tasks including patch management and system deployment took on average three hours per XP-powered system a year compared with under an hour for Windows 7. The fiscal impact is also telling: IDC claims that productivity losses and support costs related to the use of Windows XP in the enterprise totals $870 per PC per year, compared with just $168 for machines based on Windows 7.

The message is clear: it's time to upgrade.

While Microsoft will doubtless be hoping that the laggard third of the market still running XP will be upgrading to Windows 8 on release, IDC's is rather more realistic: according to the results of the study, Windows 8 is unlikely to have much of an impact in the enterprise sector until some time towards the end of 2013 as businesses take a slowly-slowly approach to testing and adoption.


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digitaldunc 28th May 2012, 16:08 Quote
Users who upgraded found side-by-side assembly - SxS - helped to address DDL issues

Don't you mean DLL Gareth? :P </nitpick>

So they've obviously got a vested interest in this one. I suppose it's entirely plausible that support costs for 7 would be less but I'm guessing the difference is minimal, really -- is XP that unreliable or prone to problems when compared to 7?

I'll take the quoted figures with a pinch of salt as they don't really go into specifics with regards to the support issues XP encounters that 7 doesn't. I've never played with a Windows 7 centric domain controller so I can't really comment on that for admin issues, but is it really that much better than an XP based domain?

I'm not saying it would be a bad thing to dump XP (quite the opposite, actually), it's just that it's perfectly adequate for a large number of organizations.
Phalanx 28th May 2012, 16:17 Quote
Well, as I work in the support area of IT, all I can say from my years of experience with both is that we get a lot more calls in regards to XP than to 7. It tends to be profile problems above others in the vast majority, so it's not so much to do with the speed of the machine. 7 doesn't give half as many problems to us as XP does.
Gareth Halfacree 28th May 2012, 18:46 Quote
Originally Posted by digitaldunc
Don't you mean DLL Gareth? :P </nitpick>
Yes. Yes, I do. Fixed, ta.
fdbh96 28th May 2012, 18:48 Quote
Totally agree with MS here, our school still uses XP and its rubbish. Doesn't help that the PCs are ancient and filled with dust though :/
Xir 28th May 2012, 18:55 Quote
we have a lot of specific macro's and database aplications tailored especially towards XP and an ancient version of office.
Also, our production machines run on either XP or win2000.
We have a great deal of problems with win7 and the latest office, that's what our tests tell us. With backward compatibility that is, the new systems themselves run very well.
AmEv 28th May 2012, 19:00 Quote
Originally Posted by fdbh96
Totally agree with MS here, our school still uses XP and its rubbish. Doesn't help that the PCs are ancient and filled with dust though :/

Same here! We're still chugging away with Pentium III 600s in classrooms with 128MB RAM!!

7 simply cannot run on those computers!
(Tried to convince them to run Linux on those machines and 7 on the nicer machines, but that didn't fare too well....)

Also, like has been said, all our software still works on XP. They see no reason to upgrade.

As for me, I still run XP because a: I simply cannot afford an internal card reader, let alone a Windows 7 licence, b: I'm not the eyepatch-wearing kind of guy.
tristanperry 28th May 2012, 19:00 Quote
The majority of the computers where I work are running XP (new Core i7, Windows 7 machines are being bought though), and I see no drawbacks from running XP. Heck, the hardware powering the older machines is ancient but they're still fairly quick even with tonnes of applications running.

I'd say that XP is more efficient than Windows 7 any day.
misterd77 28th May 2012, 19:18 Quote
I was one of those XP fanatics, till my system died (old hardware), lets face it, W7 requires less resources to run, is faster, smoother, and a whole lot less troublesome when it comes to drivers and software installs, I recently installed W7 on a machine that had been running W95, (yes, I know, but he's a cheapskate mofo), the machine had 256mb ram, and a 40gb 5,400rpm disk (IDE of course), the board was ancient, somewhere around 1998-99, I stuck in a gig of ram, a larger disk, and installed W7, and held my breath, W7 managed to install all of the drivers cept the realtek sound chip, which I managed to track down an XP driver for, and W7 just accepted the 10yr old driver like they were old pals, MS really done a great job with W7, and they are gonna have to offer something special to convince most of us to switch again, wonder what that will be.....DX12...?.......the XBOX is due for an update, so what better than to get us all panting than a new DX edition, I mean, surely they aint gonna cripple the new shiny XBOX with DX11 code ?, it wouldnt make sense.....W8=DX12.......time will tell....
silky 28th May 2012, 20:00 Quote
Heh well in my day... my school had nothing but half a dozen of these:
r3loaded 28th May 2012, 23:09 Quote
I agree with Microsoft on this one - XP is just so much more difficult to manage than Windows 7, especially in a domain. If nothing else, 7 is more efficient and far more secure than XP. That in itself should be reason enough to upgrade.
AmEv 28th May 2012, 23:17 Quote
My school's excuse?
"Then we'll have to re-train everybody, and we'll lose profit that way!"\




Yet they forced us to switch from Office '03 to Office '07 because "it's the latest and greatest".

The other reason they're not switching to 7 is their imaging software (Altiris) doesn't support 7, and they won't find one to replace it because they don't want to dish out more cash than they currently are.

"But that's Linux! We don't support Linux here."
digitaldunc 28th May 2012, 23:26 Quote
Originally Posted by r3loaded
I agree with Microsoft on this one - XP is just so much more difficult to manage than Windows 7, especially in a domain.

Really? Why?

Not disputing, just interested to know.
play_boy_2000 29th May 2012, 01:16 Quote
In a domain, windows 7, no if's, ands or butts. I have 1 lingering xp box in a SBS server I manage on the side, and I can't wait for it to be gone.
fdbh96 29th May 2012, 07:29 Quote
Its weird really because all our IT technicians in the school have windows 7 on their machines and so do most of the teachers, it just us that that get XP.

Also, I find W7 runs better than XP on older hardware.
Mentai 29th May 2012, 07:54 Quote
God I hope the IT department at my work buys into this, I'm using old NT based terminals that have a max resolution of 1600*1200 and give static on a res higher than 1024*768, so my 1080p monitor is suffering along with my eyesight. Also using office 2003, which I have to relearn because university taught me with 2007. Oh and the only image editor I have for my photos is old school paint.

Having said all that, the network it's all running on is worth hundreds of millions and for the most part is pretty responsive. I get the feeling that they really don't want to try and fix what is "working" already, even if they did earn over 2 billion AUD in profit last year.
feathers 29th May 2012, 08:56 Quote
XP is a pile of shite.
mi1ez 30th May 2012, 08:31 Quote
I did a stint this year doing desktop support at News Ltd and they still use XP. It killed me seeing the image put on brand new i7 machines. They ran so slow and had no end of problems, about 50% of which were fixed by reimaging the machines! ...and don't even get me started on multi-monitor support...
r3loaded 31st May 2012, 09:21 Quote
Originally Posted by AmEv
"But that's Linux! We don't support Linux here."
Anyone who is scared off by Linux is not fit to work in an IT department imo.
Originally Posted by digitaldunc
Really? Why?

Not disputing, just interested to know.
Various stuff really - the new imaging and deployment system that came with Vista, sensible security defaults out of the box, managing updates is far simpler (plus there are a lot fewer updates to bother with). Drivers actually work properly - the only bluescreens I get are when I overclock too far. No special partition alignment nonsense or tweaks for SSDs is needed since Windows 7 automatically detects them. It's just a lot of the little things that you don't need to worry about that make your life so much easier.
Phalanx 31st May 2012, 09:24 Quote
Originally Posted by Mentai 1080p monitor is suffering along with my eyesight.

If your eyesight is suffering, then just put in a complaint. Health & Safety will crucify them.
AmEv 31st May 2012, 14:22 Quote
Originally Posted by Phalanx
If your eyesight is suffering, then just put in a complaint. Health & Safety will crucify them.

They'll crucify his eyes?
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