The Channel logo

back to article Impending Windows XP doom breathes life into flagging PC sales

The looming death of Microsoft support for XP may finally be helping to breathe some new life into the corporate refresh cycle and lift the slumping PC market, according to those box counting fiends at IDC. The market was lifted in Q3 by the B2B segment but it wasn't enough to offset the continued drop in consumer spending as …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Gold badge

It's 6:15am PST

Factoring in time to get coffee...call it 3 hours before an Anonymous Coward is in this thread to spread FUD and lie to us outright?

Microsoft! It's great! And so's the marketing message! They treat their customers just fine and in no way hiked up all the fees to the point of bankruptcy to screw their customers! I love them, yes I do! Oooh, er, missus...

Hey, can I have a cushy job FUDing forums for MS now too?

9
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: It's 6:15am PST

As opposed to the Trevor_Pott...I hate Windows 7 / 8 and how dare they not supoprt a 12 year old bit of software usual rants?

And no I'm not THAT AC

2
7
Gold badge

Re: It's 6:15am PST

You are wrong. I never said "how dare they not support 12 year old software." I said "how dare they not offer us the ability to pay a reasonable price for ongoing support" or, barring that "how dare they not license the source code to a third party who will provide ongoing support for a reasonable price?"

I never once asked that Microsoft continue to support XP for free ad aeternum. Nor have I said "I hate Windows 7." I believe I said "Windows 7* needs an up arrow on Windows Explorer" but that is easily fixed with Classic Shell." I definitely said "fuck Microsoft's bullshit VDI licensing that is trying to make individuals and SMBs bankrupt", but that has nothing to do with Windows 7 (or even 8) and everything to do with Microsoft's despotic licensing department.

Please get your facts straight before attacking someone. Cheers.

*But Windows 8 can indeed get bent.

12
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: It's 6:15am PST

Err... While there certainly are a few bellend "pro-MS they can do nothing wrong and all MS software is perfect" type commentors, the recent rash of Win 8.1/2012 R2 related articles have been a queue of commentors waiting to slag MS off in different and increasingly less accurate ways. Many of these people don't just exhibit an ignorance of Windows, but Linux, and IT in general.

It would be nice if there was any actual space for discussion, or an ignore button, but that seems to be long out of the door.

BTW: Not that AC, either.

2
1

Re: It's 6:15am PST

Not sure why M$ would bother paying a forum troll when The Register is already doing bi-weekly DO0OOm!!1! pieces on XP as it is?

A brief monthly update on migration numbers would arguably be newsworthy. The constant stream of Chicken Little BS that the world will end when people can't get updates that El Reg is putting out is ridiculous.

0
3
Gold badge

Re: It's 6:15am PST

There are lots of people seeking to praise MS in different and increasingly inaccurate ways as well. Or slag odd Android, Apple, and my tea kettle, too.

This is a combination of Dunning Kruger and Brand Tribalism. (Yes, I have an article in the works on this. Can you tell?)

I think there's plenty of space for actual, coherent discussion on the topic, but only if we all put away our brand tribalism. Sadly, it seems increasingly few individuals are so inclined. Microsoft is so bloody polarizing because they both make fantastic technology and fuck up the delivery, licensing and support of said technology to a degree managed by few companies still in existence.

To hings your view of a company on any one thing - "The tech is good" or "the delivery is poor" - is to focus on one tree at the expense of the wider ecosytem. It is the man claiming loudly and resoundingly that he has/has not seen a change in his local weather patterns thus climate change must/must not be true.

To have a conversation about such things requires the ability to objectively analyze the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not only as they apply to you and yours, but to others as well. It also requires the ability to put things into perspective. How many companies, users, dollars, etc is represented by you and yours? How does that market segment change when you look at different countries or regions? How does the local culture affect buying patterns, acceptance of change or even the ability to obtain the financial resources necessary to deal with upgrades in a Microsoft-friendly manner?

What industries are the various people in? Are the magic wants of internet black-and-white thinking going to apply? Can that person/company/etc even upgrade? Why? Why not? Where are the sticking points and how can things be addressed? Should they be addressed?

None of this lends itself well to sound bites. None of it fits in a tweet. Certainly none of this is something that can be broken down into emotive - and emotional - outbursts, generalizations or packets of "me, thus you!"

I also warn of the dangers of proclaiming "they disagree with me, thus they are ignorant of IT in general!" For it is entirely possible - and any professional, rational being would take the moment to consider - that they know some things that you do not. (Or that their circumstances are different from your own.)

In some cases it is indeed ignorance that clouds the discussion. In far too many, however, it is ignorance of the factors that are critical to businesses that are beyond IT itself.

Just because - or someone else - believes they can craft the perfect network for someone over the internet by edict or fiat doesn't mean you have the foggiest clue in the most secret of fnords what you're on about.

And that - right there - is one of the most devilishly complex and painfully overlooked Hard Truths of our industry.

3
0
Gold badge

@SoaG

I'm not sure why Microsoft would bother paying a deep web troll either. That said, the access patterns, message resonance with Microsoft's official marketing slides and entry-level textbook social media techniques in play make my spidy senses tingle.

Remember; this sort of deep web monitoring and engaging (though not remotely so ineptly) is one of the things that my company does. We tend more to focus on opinion aggregation and actual community engagement rather than marketing message core dumps, but you get to meet others in the industry when you do it. (Or rather, Josh does it. I mostly meet people and then run the hell away. Social media types give me the shivers.)

Let's look at the paid Microsoft shill's statement that is the focus for my rage:

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.

This is pure horseshit. While the above is true in certain circumstance - and I'd be glad to write you chapter on verse on all of that if you want to kindly drop a few dozen bills in my bank account - the reality is that it simply isn't true for the majority of businesses. (Though parts of it may be true for most businesses.)

It is the absoluteness of the statement - oh so very on message - that removes the ability to have a rational discussion about this. A discussion about why one should upgrade needs to start with individual analyses of the environments and the factors holding back upgrades. Those need then be analyzed one at a time and addressed - or not - as needs and abilities dictate.

It's textbook marketing, however. Lifted damned near verbatim from some slides I have on a USB stick upstairs, emblazoned with Microsoft's logo. The thing is, the application of such in a deep web marketing scenario typically isn't so...

inept.

The idea behind doing this sort of stuff is to engage with the individuals that are off message, draw out the reasons for their recalcitrance and then (referring to your trusty message-of-the-day handbook) meet the concerns one at a time by providing solid rebuttals backed by evidence. The marketing theory behind this class of engagement is that by demonstrating that even the most recalcitrant of individuals' issues can be dealt with in a reasonable fashion your efforts are amplified amongst the community you are working with.

Oh, and you also typically identify yourself as working on behalf of the company in question. Works fucking wonders for companies within the Spiceworks, Zenoss and Puppet communities, as well as the absolutely stellar Twitter social media teams that I've worked with. (Note: Microsoft's Twitter teams are awful because they aren't authorized to actually help you.)

The horrific ineptitude is why I am willing to believe that this AC is indeed a paid Microsoft Deep Web FUD coward. Because Microsoft is historically unbelievably terrible at social media and community engagement of all kinds.

If you want community engagement that Just Fucking Works look at companies like Veeam, Simplivity, Nuntanix and - increasingly - Symantec. Matt Stephenson (@packmatt73) is truly godlike with regards to community engagement and he is really helping Symantec reform how it's helping customers.

There's the key, however: helping customers. When you engage a proper deep web nerd - Josh from my company, eGeek, or Matt from Symantec, Rick Vanover from Veeam, JMT from VMware, Gabe Chapman from Simplivity or so on - they use channels like Twitter, Spiceworks or even The Register's forums to find out what needs to be done to meet that customer's needs, then get the right people joined up to make that happen.

Does it shock me at all that Microsoft would put a body into place that goes through the motions, but has no authority to help the customer and can only repeat pre-canned statements from heavily vetted slides? No. Call their support. Talk to their Twitter guys. Interact with their PR staff. Deal with Microsoft in any official or semi-official capacity when you are less than a 2500-seat enterprise customer and this is exactly what you get.

So would Microsoft waste money on a meat sack to "social media" EL Reg's forums? Fuck yes. And that meat sack would behave exactly like the one that's been plaguing us for the past few months.

Microsoft is corporately incapable of fielding a body that behaves in any other way...but they'd try really, really hard because everyone else is doing it. Then they'll abandon it after three structuring attempts because they simply can't understand why it works for others but not them.

*sigh*

10
0
Bronze badge

Re: It's 6:15am PST @Trevor

I haven't seen the original thread, but... what is a reasonable price for continuing XP support in your mind, and what are you comparing the support price to?

What other Operating Systems from 2001 (or beyond) still get updates or paid support?

Can I get support for SLES7 or RHEL 2.1? OSX 10.1? eComstation 1.0? No.

Wikipedia states that XP has 45 million source lines of code. Outsourcing that to a 3rd party would be a tremendous task unless the current maintainers were transferred to this 3rd party to continue patching. And I'm quite sure that many coders at Microsoft would not like to move to Accenture or any other big company theoretically up to the task.

BTW, last year you had an article of an all-flash array consisting of Kingston 3K SSDs. Are they still fine? My experience with them has been disastrous...

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: It's 6:15am PST

" licensing and support of said technology to a degree managed by few companies still in existence."

Hey Trevor, come and work in the airline industry for a while. You think Microsoft "hates" their customer base? Nah. That is is just a minor artifact of their dysfunctional organisation. The airlines actually DO hate their customers and go out of their way to piss off their low & high paying customers, in the full knowledge that they are doing it, almost constantly. It is a sight to behold. That being said, it was me who mentioned the $100/seat somewhere else and I was appalled to find out (from you) that the situation on the ground is considerably worse.

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: @SoaG

Trevor, next time I am in Canada, I want to have a beer with you.

a) You are way too stressed out

b) You post is spot on

c) Life can be so much more than you perfectly righteous outrage against MS and their lackeys

d) I might add my tirades against Microsoft make yours pale in comparison, ask anyone within shouting distance of my desk!

d) I am right too!

e) get laid.

d) Get drunk (in this order)

:)

0
0
Gold badge

@Sandtitz

I personally think that $100/install/year is the "sweet spot" pricing. It generates more than enough revenue to continue support - even to generate quite a bit of profit - and doesn't feel overly onerous, even to the smallest of SMB customers.

Truth be told, you might be able to jack that up to $200 a year, if you were willing to write up goodwill for individuals and SMBs (maybe create a sliding scale?) and thus get even more profit. I don't think that's out there for either Microsoft or the customer.

The key is that you need zero minimum numbers to receive this ongoing support, and it can't have the costs ratchet skyward with each passing year. Also note that I think Red Hat should be forced to offer the same support options for RHEL. Indeed, my opinion on this is nuanced; I don't think that an OS company should be forced to support a product indefinately when there is only one user remaining.

I believe that the support horizon should be determined as a function of peak userbase. If 25% of your peak users for that product version are still using it, you must provide a support option. I'd say that should go down as low as 5% of peak users. I consider it a matter of customer protection, and I think it should apply to all developers of critical software, not simply operating system vendors.

By law they should have two options: offer support for a reasonable fee until the userbase drops below 5% of peak or lenience the source code out to a third party who will provide that support. The third party may be held to massively restrictive NDAs not allowing them to share code, etc.

Regarding the other topic: The Kingston SSDs have been in a RAID 5 of 8 SSDs since the article was published. It has been the primary iSCSI storage for my testlab. I hammer the ever living begeezus out of it all day, every day. Not one SSD is has even used 10% of it's lifespan yet, and they are working like tanks. Still delivering over 10Gbits/sec of throughput to my VMware cluster. What more can I ask?

3
0
Gold badge

@AC re: $100/seat

Most companies hate their customers, it seems. I'll never understand it. But I will fight it.

3
0
Gold badge

Re: @SoaG

a) you have no idea

b) why thank you!

c) trolling is stress relief

d) I have to be somewhat clean about the ranting. I work here and all...

d) (there are two ds?) Glad to see someone is right around here

e) the wife agrees

f) I prefer it in reverse order; social inhibition removal enhances the fun!

:)

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: @SoaG

f) but, regrettably, degrades performance ;)

0
0
Gold badge

@Philip Lewis

The Ballmer Peak theory of alcohol consumption applies.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: @Philip Lewis

As ever, Trevor, excellent replies to needlessly hostile comments. The fact that agree with almost everything you say just makes it better.

You are possibly my favourite contributor to El Re at the moment because of your reasoned defences of your position in the face of some of the sillier commenters.

0
0
Gold badge

@Intractable Potsherd

I think you have a problem with your brain being missing. But thanks nonetheless!

0
0
Bronze badge

". . really fragmented customer base."

Or really fed up/disinterested customer base who have better things to do.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Chrystelle Labesque? Computer industry analyst by day, drag act by night?

4
1

Business use

Until recently, I was working for a large business that had outsourced their IT support to a very large, well known company specialising in that area. (Over 70,000 PCs)

There were no hard numbers available, but based on what I saw and heard, roughly 15% of PCs were not on Win XP; many of the machines had been bought in the last 2 - 3 years and had been downgraded from Win 7 (or WinVista). Every thing the company does is predicated on the end user being on WinXP.

I did ask several times if a project was under way to upgrade; I was given several answers, but none seemed to relate to what I witnessed. Although the out sourcing firm have publically given a statement that they will not be supporting WinXP after next April, they are not going out of their way to organise an upgrade.

At this stage, I cannot see how they intend to complete an upgrade of existing equipment by that date; much of the software they use has not been tested for compatibility with Win7 let alone Win8. Most of their processes simply will not work with the later OSes and they have conducted no work to address this issue. From discussions with other people, this seems to be a common issue with those that have out sourced their IT.

I think that it is likely that there will still be a significant number of businesses that are using WinXP 2, 3 even 5 years from now.

5
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Business use

They do have a plan, make you pay for the upgrade project nearer the XP cut off time and blame someone else for not organising it sooner

Anon as we had to pay our outsourcer for the project

2
0

What's with this common theme perpetrated that as soon as Microsoft stops releasing patches, Windows XP machines everywhere will become overrun with viruses and be unusable within weeks?

Still using XP on both my main home computers, and I sometimes go a full year without installing updates. I don't think I've installed an update on my laptop in over 3 years. Never had a problem.

3
0
Bronze badge

You obviously don't test software for a living.

This is the fallacy of testing with real data.

It is perfectly possible to run a billion historical transactions through a system, perfectly, capturing all correct and incorrect data and handling them correctly. However, you will have not tested anything other than that data. You will have confirmed nothing and tested very little.

It is a logical fallacy.

Sigh, one hopes for a greater level of understanding from the commentards here at The Register :(

0
0
Bronze badge
Happy

Wouldn't it be better if MS re-released XP as a new operating system?

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Where is he wicked witch??

I wonder how long it will be before Neelie Croes shows up to the Win XP death party.

"Its part of the infrastructure and you MUST support it or else you lose your rights to do business in the EC of pay a monstrous fine".

I bet she'll materialise when the French Farmers realise they can't complete their farm subsidy forms without getting a bona fide copy of Win 7.

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Where is he wicked witch??

Droll, very droll!

1
0

Save XP

Sitting on my desk is an Acer netbook running XP manufactured 3sept2009. MS really should support XP for a reasonable length of time after they stopped flogging it.

2
0

Re: Save XP

There should be a law that if support for any software or o/s is stopped, then it becomes freeware with all licencing restrictions removed.

0
0
Bronze badge

yep, I have one too

See title

0
0
Silver badge

Who says they'll have to buy new hardware to upgrade?

It is unlikely very many of these PCs are 10 years old. More likely they installed XP on ones that shipped with Vista or 7 because that was their corporate standard. They'll probably be able to do an upgrade to 7 while keeping with their normal upgrade cycle. A lot of people never get a shiny new PC when they're upgraded, they get the hand-me-down from someone deemed more important who gets a new one every few years.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Opinion

Chris Mellor

Drives nails forged with Red Hat iron into VCE's coffin
Sleep Cycle iOS app screenshot

Trevor Pott

Forget big-spending globo biz: it's about the consumer... and he's desperate for a nap
Steve Bennet, ex-Symantec CEO

Chris Mellor

Enormo security firm needs to get serious about acquisitions

Features

Windows 8.1 Update  Storeapps Taskbar
Chinese Buffet self-service
Chopping down the phone tree to scrump low-hanging fruit
An original member of the System/360 family announced in 1964, the Model 50 was the most powerful unit in the medium price range.
Big Blue's big $5bn bet adjusted, modified, reduced, back for more
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Redmond needs to discover the mathematics of trust