Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has issued a warning that organizations should move off the venerable Windows XP operating system if they do not want to "provoke" an end user backlash. He reportedly said, "If you deploy a four or five-year old operating system today, most people will ask their boss why the heck they don't have the stuff they have at home."
Even as Microsoft has announced its intention to bundle the new Windows 7, it is easy to dismiss this statement as a mere marketing pitch for the new Microsoft Windows operating system. If Windows 7 is to launch as scheduled towards the end of this year, however, then this is certainly no empty talk. Taking into account the positive feedback for Windows 7, it is not hard to see how it will effectively relegate Windows XP into nothing more than a distant memory in a year or so after launch.
As employees become increasingly versed in the newer user interface and usability aspects of either Windows Vista or the improved Windows 7, some will inevitably grow to resent the "anarchic" features and user interface of the older Windows. In addition, the cost of administrating Windows XP will also increase steeply as vendors end their support and peripherals maker cease releasing Windows XP compatible device drivers.
What is more significant for small and medium businesses is the announcement of discounted upgrade licenses from customers running Windows XP to switch straight to Windows 7. This will no doubt be a boon to SMBs who might have purchased new computer systems in the last year, but have opted for Windows XP rather than the newer Windows Vista.
So if you can wait a little while, it will be good to see if the major device makers will announce free operating system upgrades for pre-Windows 7 computer systems. But if you are not getting new systems for now, then it will make sense to wait until the release of Windows 7 to jump onboard.