Microsoft’s still trying to scare businesses into upgrading to Windows 8

Windows XP in happier times. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Microsoft India yesterday issued a press release with the title, “Staying on Windows XP to cost three times more than migrating to Windows 8.” The release is based on a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by IDC, which found that sticking with XP could cost business up to $300 per machine. The first paragraph is worth reading in full for its disclaimers and elaborate assumptions:

India, May 16, 2013: As per the latest study conducted by the research firm IDC, companies are prone to spend three times more if they don’t plan to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8. An estimate suggests that the cost of upgrading (assuming no enterprise license agreement and three-year amortization period) will be US$ 95 vis-à-vis the cost of non-migrating which will be US$ 300 per seat/user followed by almost a double the cost in the subsequent year, should they choose to opt for a custom support contract to stay on Windows XP post April 2014.. Vital point to note here is that the non-migration cost is only the documentable cost as this does not include costs related to business loss due to security and data breach threats, productivity loss and other similar factors.

The release also notes that some companies, such as Bharti Airtel, have already seen savings of a staggering 2,000 rupees ($36) per user by ditching XP for Windows 7.

It is true that Windows XP is way past its prime but there must be better ways to drum up some business. Still, it seems to have been effective. Here’s the story in the Economic Times and the Hindu Business Line. The Business Standard ran its piece with the same headline as the press release. NextBigWhat, an Indian tech blog, was alone in calling it a scare tactic.

It is not just the Indian business press that is credulous. Microsoft tried exactly the same thing in America last year—at the same time of year, oddly enough—and got some pick up. Entitled “Why Sticking with Windows XP is a Bad Idea,” last year’s IDC white paper made the same arguments but based on American data. “It takes money to save money,” the paper said. Which is precisely the same quote attributed to Amrish Goyal, a Microsoft India manager in yesterday press release. As if bullying customers into upgrading to an unpopular product wasn’t bad enough, it seems Microsoft can’t even be bothered to rewrite its press releases.

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