On April 8, 2014 Microsoft is putting Windows XP out to pasture, so to speak. The software giant is cutting off support for the aging operating system (OS), effectively meaning the end of patches and updates.
That spells trouble for small businesses that haven't upgraded their operating systems in several years or haven't made plans to do so soon.
Palo Alto-based IT systems and services provider Hewlett-Packard (HP) is leveraging its hardware, IT services and financing divisions in a move to smooth the transition from Windows XP to its successors, Windows 7 and 8. On the hardware front, HP provides a refreshed portfolio of desktop and mobile systems. These include all-in-one and notebooks that are optimized for Windows 7 and Windows 8. For small businesses eyeing tablets, HP offers a Windows 8 tablet, the ElitePad 900.
HP Plans XP Migration Help for Small Business
HP Enterprise Services links technical experts with businesses to design and carry out a migration plan. The company's Workplace Software Management Services can manage the deployment of new computers or OS image updates on existing hardware. HP also lends its expertise in building OS images, integration testing and tech certifications.
Finally, the HP also offers financial perks. Organizations can take advantage of HP Financial Services programs to defer payments for up to 90 days or get 1 percent cash back on select purchases.
The one thing HP can't do it buy Windows XP more time, regardless of the platform's following.
In an age of yearly OS updates and rapid software iteration, Windows XP may seem like a relic of the past. For businesses, however, XP has proven to be a sturdy, stable and largely reliable OS -- provided that you kept it updated and secure, of course. These traits help explain the 11 year-old operating system's enduring popularity.
According to Net Applications' latest statistics (June 2013), Windows XP clings to more than 37 percent of the desktop OS market. Only one operating system, also from Microsoft, beats it in terms of adoption: Windows 7 (44 percent).
That translates into a huge army of Windows XP desktops and laptops that, come April, may become targets for hackers and will be left to wrestle with software compatibility issues.
Organizations flirt with these risks out of concern that starting the upgrade process will bring their businesses to a halt. "Many businesses have been avoiding the XP migration, fearing lack of compatibility and loss of productivity during the transition process," stated Enrique Lores, senior vice president and general manager of HP's Commercial PC unit, in company remarks.
In collaboration with Microsoft, HP -- no stranger to IT migrations and upheavals -- wants to help smooth the transition to a more contemporary Windows experience.
"HP's broad portfolio of products and services are both comprehensive and cost-effective, while HP Financial Services (HPFS) allows for minimal upfront investment, providing businesses with a worry-free, simple migration from XP to a more recent Windows OS," added Lores.
According to Microsoft Windows General Manager Erwin Visser, HP can help fast-track the transition. "By working with a company such as HP, which has hardware and services solutions in place, businesses can almost immediately start realizing the benefits of Windows 8 and Windows 7," he said in a statement.
For holdouts, the upgrade to a newer Windows OS may prove too compelling to ignore. "Specific benefits for businesses by transitioning from Windows XP include cutting lost productivity costs per PC in half, reducing technical support needs by up to 70 percent per PC, and saving $700 annually per user from reduced support costs and power usage," said Lisa Baker, director of worldwide business PC marketing at HP.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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