In response to yesterday’s report by various analysts that Microsoft Windows 8 has not been able to curb declining PC sales, the tech giant said it will offer SMBs (up to 249 users) a 15% discount on the combined price of Windows 8 Pro and Office 2013 upgrades if they buy before the end of June 2013.
“This is good news for cash-strapped companies and for those organizations that are still trying to make the business case for the upgrade,” Richard Edwards, principal analyst at Ovum believes. “It is also potentially good news for the Windows division at Microsoft, as it could help push Windows 8 into the business sector – a market yet to respond to the allure of Microsoft’s message of a “Windows reimagined”.
Microsoft must now combine its “Get modern” PC campaign with its Office 365 marketing push in order to move forward and regain momentum. Ovum suggests that businesses take a similar, holistic view in order to capitalize on this period of unprecedented technology change.
“The security landscape of 2013 is very different to that of 2001 when Windows XP was first introduced, and there were no enterprise social networks, tablets computers, or cloud collaboration services for Microsoft Office to connect to or work with,” Edwards continued. “Much has been written by Ovum and others documenting the security issues of Windows XP and, for the most part, businesses have responded by moving to more modern and secure computing platforms and models. But there is justified concern that after April 2014 (when Microsoft finally stops releasing fixes and patches for Windows XP), organizations running the operating system could be targeted by hackers using exploits that Microsoft and its partners in the PC security software industry are as yet unaware of.
Ovum’s research suggests that 70% of business PCs have successfully transitioned to Windows 7, and Microsoft is now making a concerted effort to help small and medium-sized businesses (which are among those it considers could be at risk when support for Windows XP is withdrawn) to make the move to a more modern and productive PC platform.
In addition, Ovum believes SMBs would benefit from more time to take up Microsoft’s discount offer, “but ultimately it’s up to business owners and their IT professionals to weigh up the risks associated with running an unsupported computer operating system and associated products, such as Microsoft Office 2003 (support for which also ends on April 8, 2014).”