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back to article FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS: Microsoft faces prising XP from Big Biz

Windows versions are a bit like Star Trek movies – every other one tends to be a bit duff. It happened with ME, then XP impressed everyone, then it happened with Vista, then Windows 7 came along – and now we're at Windows 8.1. So far, adoption rates of Microsoft's latest hope for cross-device domination haven't been great. …

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Google will save the world. While perhaps doing only a little evil.

Google will support those who fail to migrate (at least with a competent browser). I have no doubt that other software suppliers will follow Google's lead.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google will save the world. While perhaps doing only a little evil.

it was exactly the same when support for Windows NT 4 ended. It still took many companies and organisations years to migrate. And some still havn't!

Move along, nothing to see here....

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Re: Google will save the world. While perhaps doing only a little evil.

The touch screen counter machines at the UK Post Office and the IBM tills in Starbucks all over the world run on NT4.

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Re: Google will save the world. While perhaps doing only a little evil.

It can't have been that long ago since I saw an ATM that was stuck on a Windows 95 boot screen.

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Re: UK Post Office

Doesn't the UK post office fall under banking regulation compliance?

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Or

Not move at all. In reality the lack of patches doesn't make much difference to a sensibly used XP behind a firewall.

Surely there is a non-MS alternative too? Not if you have a large investment in old Windows and DOS programs, some of which don't work on Vista/Win7 and perhaps more don't work on Win 8, so the very people that can easily move to Win8 due to legacy baggage perhaps can move from MS. Many people I meet even with Win7 already are talking about Apple OS X or Linux. But the danger with Mac and OSX is that Apple has no loyalty to customers. Where are the Apple Servers today? If Mac and OS X is too much less attractive in Income than a cool styled "notebook" based on ARM and iOS Apple will drop the OS X based Mac family.

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Re: Or

"Many people I meet even with Win7 already are talking about Apple OS X or Linux."

When someone competent in enterprise It is involved, those are generally pretty short conversations....

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ISP

Re: Or

"When someone competent in enterprise It is involved, those are generally pretty short conversations...."

That'd be why our CIO's office old me that I had to migrate to a more secure operating system. By which they meant Linux...

And you are right, there was no conversation. Just an edict.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Or

"And you are right, there was no conversation. Just an edict."

Presumably until someone pointed out that Windows has had far fewer security vulnerabilities that were on average fixed faster than any enterprise Linux distribution every year since 1994....

Linux adoption has stayed at near zero ever since Munich council proved it was a waste of lots of money. Tens of millions spent and a decade later and they still havnt finished migrating. And when they need to do real work - such as use a version of Office that actually works - they still have to use Windows (via Citrix!)

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Re: Or

I'm sorry, you must be in upper management, so I'll type slowly.

I'm not surprised it is taking them this long to drop the deeply entrenched money sink that is Microsoft. I suspect that there is a lot push back from external sources that MS has in their back pocket to make just such an endeavor that much harder.

There are several fine MS Office alternatives out there. The problem is, they all use a recognized standard for document interchange. MS does not.

"Presumably until someone pointed out that Windows has had far fewer security vulnerabilities that were on average fixed faster than any enterprise Linux distribution every year since 1994...."

Um, sources or I call BS.

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Linux

Re: Um, sources or I call BS.

It's possible, when you consider how much more software there is in the average Linux distro than is included with Windows - I doubt that notepad and minesweeper present too much of security risk.

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Re: Or

"Um, sources or I call BS."

He's always banging on about vulns. or Munich, funnily enough he often gives links to documents that often show exactly the opposite of what he's claiming. What on Earth he get off on with all of this I don't know. - doesn't really matter he's just an AC and should be ignored.

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Re: Or

I like LibreOffice and use it at home every day - but the idea of a Linux desktop for corporate use is dead in the water for as long as Microsoft doesn't provide Office for Linux and keep changing their Office file formats as every upgrade.

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Re: Or

You have a good point about office if you and your business associates are working on complex documents. However for sending each other the odd invoice or spreadsheet to look at then one side on Open Office and one of MS Office is fine. There are pretty similar problems with different versions of MS Office as there are to Open Office.

As long as we have XP and Windows 7 then Linux on the desktop is not a huge advantage. It's a different story with servers.

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naw

Re: Or

MS have screwed up in a major way, first with MS Office, and now with Windows. If you tear up your User Interface, forcing your users to completely re-learn core apps, then you open the door to alternatives.

Fact is, it's as easy to go from XP & Office 2003 to Ubuntu & Open Office as it is to go to Windows 8/8.1 & Office 2007/2010/2012/2013.

In fact my wife and mum totally gave up on the latest from MS and both opted for Ubuntu & OO - it was just an easier transition. So MS effectively abandoned 2 customers - and they're never going back to MS - Why pay for something you can't use.

Also Ubuntu installed perfectly on both their laptops while I spent weeks searching for XP drivers for a FJS Amilo laptop (having given up on the horrific pre-installed Vista). So MS (under the stewardship of Steve Ballmer and his pals) opened the door a crack for OpenOffice with the MS Office Ribbon menus (the Ribbon simply does not work with the new wide-screen format laptops). Then they opened it a bit more for Ubuntu and finally, for Android, they took it off its hinges and broke it up for firewood with Windows8.

That's what happens when you give your adolescent kid (Ballmer) the keys to their first car (Microsoft). They try to put their stamp on it. Paint flames down the side, smoke the windows, furry dice air freshners, lower the suspension, ruin performance with a fat exhaust. Then they crash and burn at the first corner with their pals on the back seat yelling encouragement.

Apple's next ;-)

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Re: Or

Oh, rly?

That's why over 50% of servers runs Linux.

That's why over 50% of embedded devices runs Linux.

That's why Google framework runs Linux and it even chose to based Android (that already have as many active machines as wintel ones) on Linux kernel.

Your Win+Office+somethinginMSandNSAcloud is not the whole world.

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Windows XP

XP is good by Windows standards, but not that good. Using it here, I don't even have virtual desktops. Even Windows 3.1 had that (ok it was Bigdesk freeware).

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Re: Or

No. What keeps Windows on the desktop throne is MS' control over manufacturers. Every purchase of a PC is a forced purchase of Windows.

The KDE and Gnome projects have also done their best to keep Linux off the desktop by despising their users and writing themselves into irrelevancy. I use XFCE and LXDE.

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Go

Re: Or

You automobile restyling analogy cracked me up.

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@JohnG Re: Or

Microsoft doesn't need to provide an Office for Linux. They need to adhere to the fscking standard the rest of the world agrees upon.

If everyone would stop being a sheep and stop using MS Office, then they will have no choice but to comply and use as standard we make them use.

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Re: Or

"As long as we have XP and Windows 7..."

Yes, but half of your argument is going away April 8th, 2014...

Can we assume full steam ahead on Linux for you then? Good, I knew we could.

Next customer in the queue, please!

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Re: Windows XP

Then you should look at the sysinternals "desktops" addon to windows. Free, very small footprint and gives you 4 separate virtual screens. It just works...

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Re: Or

"forced purchase of Windows"

That is (and in fact always was) illegal.

Alas, reality is the same anyway, and here in the real world, things haven't changed.

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I don't think so

XP isn't nearly as dependable or sturdy as Win7. I had to reinstall everything every few months with XP. But with Win7, never, unless it is just to clean out the digital garbage that builds up.

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Re: I don't think so

> XP isn't nearly as dependable or sturdy as Win7. I had to reinstall everything every few months with XP. But with Win7, never, unless it is just to clean out the digital garbage that builds up.

Of course your mileage may vary, but my Desktop has been running XP for over 10 years and has proved more stable than my W7 machines.

XP isn't sufficiently broken for anyone sensible to actually want to throw it out and spend all the money required to replace it.

Most sites will only replace it when the systems its running on break or are no longer fit for purpose.

The likes of MS seem to constantly fail to understand this fact. They think people will throw out their working stuff and replace it with this weeks shiny thing. Life just ain't like that.

If it ain't broke, you don't fix it.

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Re: I don't think so

At some point early last decade the MS operating systems became so stable that I at least have never really seen a crash that was related to the OS itself. Sure I have seen them crash, but always due to poor hardware. Software may of course crash, but that really shouldn't bring down the OS and it doesn't. Bugs in the drivers are the exception to that, and of course that is kind of a hardware issue as well. The only way a hardware vendor has to correct a fault with their hardware is to write in a workaround in firmware or drivers, and this does indeed happen. Not only software makers ship products littered with bugs. Even though testing is more rigorous on hardware, this does happen, and you can't rewire a shipped product.

You would be amazed on how many hardware errors you can run with on a modern operating system and all you notice is the occasional blue screen or similar, if you are unlucky. But people blame the operating system, and they are then made to try to cope with faulty hardware, but there are limits.

And of course it is possible to manage your computer so badly that you do indeed have a buildup of digital garbage as you call it and that you have to either learn how to clean it up or reinstall. But that isn't really the OS' problem. Personally at least the last time I reinstalled a Microsoft OS on my home computers was after a disk crash over ten years ago. And no, they are not slower than when I got them. They rather tends to run smoother and smoother as new drivers and updates come along and I myself get a better and better handle on them.

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Re: I don't think so

My sister's netbook, running Win 7 basic version, had become sluggish. I did a 'disk cleanup', including system files. This seemed to remove a lot of crud, from MS auto-updates and from various other things, eg skype, that had been installed and then removed.

It then ran swiftly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't think so

"If it ain't broke, you don't fix it."

How can an OS be out of money? Or did you mean broken?

Over a few years an upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 will save most organisations money compared to supporting a legacy infrastructure - from the lower TCO - including fewer security vulnerabilities, better performance, greater reliability, better power saving, etc. etc.

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Re: I don't think so

"At some point early last decade the MS operating systems became so stable that I at least have never really seen a crash that was related to the OS itself."

Does being a Microsoft shill pay much?

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@MS deep web social media shill

"Over a few years an upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 will save most organisations money compared to supporting a legacy infrastructure "

Bullshit. Prove it.

I could invest in some firewalls, imaging software, IDS and a few other things to defend perfectly working estate. As an alternative, I can buy all new Microsoft software and the same stuff, because I'll still have to defend my estate against emerging threats.

Oh, and with XP retail boxed, I can RDP into my system from as many devices in the world as I wish. With Windows Vista or newer I have to pay $100 per device per year. That's after I have to buy in to a much more expensive Enterprise licence with software assurance that in no way benefits me.

Don't shit in my hand and tell me it's gold. Back your malarky up with evidence and hard numbers or go crawl back into the Redmondian gutter you congealed in.

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Re: I don't think so

Dropping Xp makes no sense. The reason people stick with Windows is to support their legacy apps. So it makes sense to use an OS from the same era. Changing the OS is sure to cause more problems than it solves.

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Re: @MS deep web social media shill

Nice one Trev.

That $100/seat/year is just fucking horrifying. Monopoly pricing at its worst!

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Re: I don't think so

"If it ain't broke, you don't fix it."

Reminds me of Windows 2000, rock solid even from the alpha but now gone to OS heaven a good few years after MS stopped security patches for it. While XP is solid, it didn't have much more than 2000 really.

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Re: @MS deep web social media shill

It emphatically isn't $100/seat/year. I would galdly pay Microsoft 100$/seat/year to be able to use RDP or proper VDI to access software on systems that I own.

No, this is far - far - worse. This is $100 for every single device used to access a given system pet year. Do you own a home PC, 3 tablets, 2 smartphones, RDP in to your home VM from inside other VMs, servers, client sites, hotels, etc? $100 per device per year. Last year I clocked myself in at over 300 devices.

Microsoft says that if I upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 I have to pay them over $30,000 a year just for the right to access my personal virtual machine at home.

That's way different from $100/seat/year.

So where is Microsoft's "I take weekends and evenings off" paid shill on this topic? Where are his facts and figures? Where are the numbers showing me ROI and TCO that apply to my situation and that of my clients? Indeed, that of any real-world clients that aren't a cherry-picked group of American Enterprise customers who use access methods and patterns from 10 years ago?

I want to be wrong on this, Mr Microsoft marketing guy, please, do prove me wrong on this.

Oh, and no, that bullshit Redmondian line that RDS is as good or better than VDI? Fuck that noise with an angry goat. I have applications that will only work on client operating systems and refuse to work on Server ones. Besides, even if I could get it to work...why should I have to pay thousands - and put in a significant amount of administrative effort trying to get shims to work - just to to what I can do on XP Pro by enabling RDP?

Remote desktop services is not VDI. It's a fucking kludge - a terrible kludge - that we have to put up with only because Microsoft's dark-side clown brigade (composed of the most elemental evil this universe has to offer, congealed in the darkest gutters humanity has ever known) decided that we just aren't allowed to run the client OS in a VM and use it in a manner that works perfectly fine except for their ridiculous licensing.

I want persistent desktops for my users, Microsoft. Centrally located and administered. Simply put, I want the ability to field persistent Windows 7 desktops. No layers of complex management. Just working systems that are simple to set up, simple to control, simple to use.

I'm waiting, Microsoft. Tell me how your upgrades are adding value and going to save me money. Tell me how upgrading isn't going to choose between bankruptcy or retooling my entire personal - and corporate - data access workflow to something far less efficient. Tell me how you're out there for the customer, Microsoft.

Engage with me, damn it. I'm a tech blogger, a Microsoft partner and - far more importantly - a customer. Surely one of those categories of individuals still matters to the corporate overmind.

Answer my goddamned questions. Provide me with facts and figures. Show me how I can do what I want to do, how I want to do it and do so in a manner that will in fact save me money by upgrading.

Don't run and hide when I ask you the hard questions, you fucking cowards.

Your paid shills are all over this forum. What good are they to me, to you or to any of your customers if they can't answer the simple questions put to them? If they can't prove their claims in front of all?

Prove me wrong, Microsoft, and I'll gladly write you a massive article series about how wrong I was, and how awesome Microsoft is. I'll write several. Prove that my understanding of your licensing and it's impacts on myself any my clients are incorrect and I will champion Microsoft and it's policies...because if you can do so then Microsoft will deserve to be championed.

Until then, stop lying to people in the forums of The Register. Put up or shut up. Can you do so before XP turns into a pumpkin? The clock is ticking.

Tick tock

Tick tock

Tick Tock

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Re: I don't think so

It is not just legacy programs, legacy hardware that cost more than the PC that drives it and cannot now be replaced is another boat anchor to XP because new systems are not compatible.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @MS deep web social media shill -@Trevor_Pott

I may be reading too much into the subtext, but are you possibly a bit upset with Microsoft?

...5 more working days to go till I retire and can start to forget everything I know about Windows. I can feel my blood pressure dropping in anticipation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @MS deep web social media shill

Wow. You need to turn off your computers and phones and take a long vacation. Maybe a round the world trip. When you come back find a new career and a few pastimes. You won't regret it.

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Re: @MS deep web social media shill -@Trevor_Pott

No. I am not upset with Microsoft. There are plenty of amazingly talented people at Microsoft producing excellent technology to the best of their abilities. I am furiously livid with Microsoft's licensing department.

Microsoft is not a homogenous entity. I can loathe and despise one collection of soulless cretins while being quite enamored of the others.

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@AC Re: @MS deep web social media shill

Great riposte. Respond to the hard questions with ad hominem. I should thusly consider your opinions valid why?

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What about statutary / regulatory compliance?

If your organization is part of or interacts with credit card agencies, financial services companies /regulators, or connects to government networks your next audit will include a requirement to remain on a supported version of all operating systems( windows and non-windows!). Failure to have plans to mitigate this could be disastrous either to the organizations reputation or financially. Sanctions could include,inability to connect to government networks (including PSN & GCSX in the UK, removal of authority to process credit card payments or refusal to allow connections to customer networks to provide remote support.

Moving from Win XP to Win 7 isn't a trivial job in itself for our estate of 4000+ pc's and 200 windows servers, Moving to win8 or a non windows OS for these services would be a complete none starter. Like many other organizations we in IT were unable to get this project to the top of the corporate priority list until there were none other options.

If you genuinely have no government/ public sector financial services customers and never want any and don't process debit or credit card payments then maybe you can stay with XP but for most of us in corporate IT departments there really are no other options.

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Re: I don't think so

"If it ain't broke, you don't fix it."

NB. This does not apply to aeroplanes!

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naw

Re: I don't think so

"XP isn't nearly as dependable or sturdy as Win7. I had to reinstall everything every few months with XP."

Thats funny I only ever had to reinstall XP once after a disk crash. Windows ME (remember that) and Vista on the other hand was every few months. You're probably right about Windows7, nobody is using Windows8 so nobody knows yet.

But the fact is WindowsXP is plenty good enough for most users, so there's no reason to *upgrade* other than catastrophic HW failure. The majority of home and education users (not corporate yet) are actually upgrading to Linux in the form of Android. Those same people will ultimately influence the buying decisions in business over a 5-8year period.

That's how Sun got into the corporates, by first getting into the Universities. Thats how Apple got into corporates by first getting into the home. MS on the other hand got into the home by first winning the corporates, back in the 1980's when people couldn't afford PCs / laptops at home - it was right for that period but not today.

The next generation of IT users are growing up with Apple, Android, Google, Facebook and eBay so why are they going to invest into MS products? This is a long game (well 5-8 years) and MS have already lost.

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Re: @MS deep web social media shill -@Trevor_Pott

"...5 more working days to go till I retire and can start to forget everything I know about Windows. I can feel my blood pressure dropping in anticipation."

You want to be careful this week. The laws of "Film Cop Movies" mean your chances of being killed are going up exponetially at the moment.

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naw

Re: I don't think so

- sorry to post again so soon - but I should add that MS know their model is broken, that they are hemorrhaging users and business and are in rapid decline. Previously they made money by selling you new versions of stuff you already had. But Windows XP & Office 2003 are pretty robust and does everything most people need, so there's no need to upgrade continually - so what if it's out of support, when did you ever call MS for help anyway.

So the first action to generate repeat sales was to stop supplying media on pre-installed systems, not to stop piracy but rather to stop you reinstalling the SW you bought onto your new machine and force a re-sale of stuff you already own.

Now everything is available online, so MS are looking at a new model to keep revenue coming in - Office 365. Now we get to rent our SW and own nothing which looks like a great deal for a year. But compared to the value we got from XP & Office 2003 - lets say maybe £500 over 10 - 15 years, then thats just £33 /year, MS needs much more than that to keep pay those world class execs fat & happy.

WindowsXP has become a curse to MS. Initially, it was simply good enough, but by SP3 it was too good (for users to bother upgrading every three or four years). Most users would be perfectly happy to keep XP and just install it on to their new HW, but MS change the HW specs that manufacturers have to follow for WindowsVista/7/8 to ensure XP cannot be installed onto new kit

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Re: I don't think so

"Over a few years an upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 will save most organisations money compared to supporting a legacy infrastructure - from the lower TCO - including fewer security vulnerabilities, better performance, greater reliability, better power saving, etc. etc."

Yep that's pretty much the party line. Truth is that new SW brings new problems, sometimes just new versions of old problems. More importantly it brings new opportunities to sell you more stuff you already own or new education to use the stuff you already know or new support agreements to help keep the new unstable stuff running that was previously mature and stable.

That's why the world actually runs on 40 year old Mainframe technology - you might access them with a 5 year old PC via a Web interface or a Smart Phone / Tablet App, but the truth is you unknowingly use Mainframe technology unknowingly every day of your life for most things that you consider essential (except AFAIK facebook and google searches of course)

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Re: I don't think so

"If it ain't broke, you don't fix it."

NB. This does not apply to aeroplanes!

I thought it applied to aeroplanes too, just that with aeroplanes you need to check everyday and in every way that they "ain't broke"

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Even Win 7 is iffy

We have switched to Win 7 or Server 2008R2 in most things. Win 8, for the type of stuff we do, is a disaster. We have two machines (notebooks) running on Win 8 because they came with it. Majority of servers are already Linux of one flavor or another. Win XP and Server 2003 are still used and running on a bunch of VMs for various support stuff.

If I had a hundred boxen running XP and had to decide on whether or not to splash out for $15 or $20K for Win 7 licenses and required upgrade hardware or to put in Linux, I would be going to Linux.

Win 7 is not bad, but it is not great. IMO, XP, for its time was better than Win 7 is for its time.

There is an opportunity here for someone to develop a drop-in replacement for XP with security updates, annoyances removed, etc. I will be looking at this myself because I do not expect to ever move to Win 8 and Win 9 may either be too little or too late.

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Re: Even Win 7 is iffy

I respectfully disagree with your comment that Windows 7 in iffy. Window 7 is an excellent operating system and I have had less trouble with it than any other operating system I have used in the last 30+ years. XP was never better than Windows 7.

I find Windows 8 usable only if I install Start8 on it. At that point, it works reasonably well for me. I look forward to trying Windows 8.1 but, it will not install on my notebook as I am running Windows 8 in a virtual hard drive and it will not install on it from the store which is a big pain.

I do like a few current versions of Linux and many open source applications available for it. I would recommend going that route for many who have limited needs such as web, e-mail, word processing, etc..

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Re: Even Win 7 is iffy

@TechW

What I meant was that Win 7 is 'iffy' in that for many (millions anyway) of the 500 million XP users Win 7 is simply not a viable alternative.

Both a switch to Linux and a switch to Win 7 involves broken software and a learning curve. However, Linux can be tailored to look more like XP, does not involve new hardware and avoids a $150.00 licence fee per workstation. A switch to Win 7 involves staying on the slippery slope with MS as it abandons Win 7 in favor of Win 8 and attempts to force users into monthly payments to keep using their systems.

Switching from Windows to Linux involves significant pain. It could also involve costs as some software may need to be replaced. However, it is possible to use RDP out of a Linux workstation into a Windows Box or Terminal Server to ease the transition.

Microsoft is playing a very dangerous game of chicken. Although there is a steep barrier to adopting Linux, once it *has* been adopted it is nearly impossible to lure people back.

Win 7 is still the likely alternative to XP, but it is not nearly as solid as it should be.

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