We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

What Windows 8? Microsoft Pushes XP-to-Win 7 Migration

Microsoft is pushing businesses to move from XP to Windows 7, with little mention of Windows 8.

What's the best operating system for businesses? If you were to ask Microsoft, you'd probably expect them to preach the virtues of the company's upcoming Windows 8 operating system, which arrives later this year on both PCs and tablets.

But for enterprises still running Redmond's antiquated Windows XP OS, Windows 7 is the logical upgrade--at least according to a new whitepaper written by analyst firm IDC and sponsored by Microsoft.

(Disclaimer: PCWorld and IDC are both owned by the same parent company, IDG.)

The whitepaper, titled "Mitigating Risk: Why Sticking with Windows XP is a Bad Idea," is the latest step in Microsoft's ongoing crusade to driving a stake through XP's eternally beating heart.

So what's the report say? Pretty much what you'd expect.

"IDC found that the base IT and end user labor costs of continuing to support Windows XP is now approximately five times as much as the cost of running Windows 7," writes Microsoft's Erwin Visser in a May 24 post on The Windows Blog.

Yes, but how does Windows 8, with its radically redesigned Metro interface, fit into the business-upgrade cycle?

Visser writes that "migrating now to Windows 7 will set businesses up well to embrace Windows 8 in the future, as IDC found that all indications at this time are that the move from Windows 7 to Windows 8 will be seamless for applications and non-impactful to existing hardware."

Another possible scenario: Businesses bypass Windows 8 altogether and wait for Windows 9 a few years down the road, particularly if the benefits of moving from Win 7 to Win 8 aren't worth the expense and hassle of upgrading.

Windows XP is slowly being supplanted by Windows 7, but not as quickly as Microsoft would like. According to analytics firm Net Applications, Windows XP had a 46 percent share of all desktop operating systems in April 2012, while Windows 7 had just under 39 percent.

Microsoft will end support for XP in April 2014, a deadline that Redmond hopes will spur its enterprise customers to finally drop the aging OS.

For now, Windows 7 is the upgrade path of choice--and may very well remain so even after Windows 8 ships.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci at Today@PCWorld, Twitter (@jbertolucci) or jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

IDG UK Sites

Windows 10 release date, price, features UK: Staggered release with PCs coming first this summer -...

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

MacBook Pro 15in preview: better battery life, faster storage and a new discrete graphics chip may...