One year to go and Windows XP decline has stalled

Posted by: Browsium Tags: , Posted date:

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To those who have migrated your organization from Windows XP to Windows 7 — Congratulations! Given our expertise in dealing with the hardest migration and legacy web application issues, let us be the first to say ‘job well done’. We are still here to help you tackle the next challenges facing your organization, such as  managing and securing your Java clients and giving you centralized control of browser defaults in your multi-browser environment (read: IE + Chrome or Firefox).

For those of you still struggling to get off Windows XP, let’s put your situation into perspective. As of the end of March 2013, nearly 39% of the world’s PCs are still running Windows XP. Is that a big number? You bet it is. There are roughly 1.5 billion PCs is use today so that 39% represents almost 600 million PCs. So, for better or worse, you’re in good company.

It should come as no surprise that most of those Windows XP PCs are being used in business. After all, Windows 7 first shipped 3 1/2 years ago and immediately replaced Windows XP on the hundreds of millions of new consumer PCs that ship each year. But businesses deploy upgrades on a very different cycle than consumers, so the tail of Windows XP usage should be very long. That said, one would still expect to see a steady decline in Windows XP usage as we’re nearing one year from Microsoft’s April 8th 2014 “end of support” date for XP. In fact, the XP decline should be accelerating. But what may be a surprise is that fact that the decline in Windows XP usage has stalled. Computerworld appears to be the first to publicly report on this, but the trend has been clearly evident for many months. As the chart below shows, Windows XP usage finally dropped below Windows 7 around the middle of 2012. But since then, the trend lines have been relatively parallel … and horizontal!

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We first started talking about this problem last summer when we identified the disturbing trend that easy Windows 7 migrations were already done. What’s left are the difficult and expensive migrations facing the largest of enterprises.  The sheer number of large enterprises around the globe, multiplied by the number of PCs they use, accounts for a significant portion of that red Windows XP line. We’ll need to set aside the questions around software piracy and the impact that has on upgrades – there’s just no agreed upon way to address that data so we’ll just consider it in the ‘margin of error’. That still leaves a huge number of PCs waiting for an IT-driven migration to Windows 7, and it’s happening way too slowly.

There are many factors that slow these migrations, and they can vary by enterprise. For some, it’s budget challenges in a difficult economy. For others it’s simply the fact that Windows XP is solid and it works. It’s also possible that IT organizations have no “desktop OS migration muscle definition” remaining. After all, it’s been more than a decade for most IT pros since their last major OS migration. The move from Windows NT or Windows 2000 to Windows XP was the last time organizations really migrated – everyone skipped Windows Vista, leaving Windows XP in place for nearly 12 years. Who remembers how to migrate desktops anymore?

The one common factor to nearly every stalled migration is web application compatibility. Upgrading, rewriting or replacing legacy web applications is expensive and time consuming … and very easy to keep pushing out until the last minute. Why put off for tomorrow what you can put off for two days? There are always more pressing business issues that DEMAND attention and NEED resources to be solved today compared with the unseen work and time involved in migrating to a new OS and browser. We see all too often organizations not dealing with these issues. But we’re biased (for obvious reasons) and only see the problems …organizations only come to us if they have migration and browser management issues. But the data shows it’s not just our perception and not just an issue in the organizations we talk with.

We’re now at the last minute, with one year to go until these organizations are faced with two equally painful options – buy an expensive custom support agreement from Microsoft, or go without support and risk a major security or support crisis. If you’re facing web application compatibility blockers, Browsium Ion can help. No solution is easier or faster at enabling legacy web applications to run on Windows 7. But you need to get started now.

Don’t leave yourself having to ask “do I have enough time to finish before the deadline?” Start now. Inaction will cost exponentially more time and money. We’re ready to work with you to drive Windows XP market share where it should be going – down and to the right.

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