Making the Case for Terminating Windows XP

    There’s nothing wrong with Windows XP per se. A lot of work has gone into making this platform fairly stable. But when you stand Windows XP up against Windows 7, from the perspective of the IT people who have to manage these environments, the cost of maintaining Windows XP has reached a point that makes it more trouble than it’s worth.

    According to Jay McBain, director of channel marketing and community development at Lenovo, a large percentage of businesses have already started to make the shift. But McBain notes that in large enterprises with 2,500 or more users, only about 20 percent of the companies have begun to adopt Windows 7. And most of that adoption is in the form of pockets of new laptops that are bought as replacement for older systems that are too antiquated to run modern applications.

    Naturally, in these tough economic times, there is resistance to funding a wholesale upgrade to Windows 7. Microsoft and its allies, however, are trying to force the issue by making it impossible for PC manufacturers to build a new system with Windows XP after October 22nd, although they will provide Windows XP support through 2014.

    Most end users would probably happily trade in their tired Windows XP systems for a Windows 7 system based on a new Intel Core i5 processor. But odds are good that many IT organizations will try to cannibalize parts from their installed base of Windows XP systems to postpone upgrades as long as possible. And there will probably be a pretty lively after-market in Windows XP systems for years to come.

    When you think about all the IT people who will be spending their time keeping Windows XP systems running, you can’t help but wonder if this activity is preventing attention to other things that could add more to the business. There’s a lot of talk about getting more value out of our investments in IT. Paying people hundreds of dollars an hour to maintain a fleet of systems that can all be replaced by new systems that not only cost under $1,000, but more often than not run existing Windows XP applications better, doesn’t qualify as good IT investment.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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