TechWatch readers respond: The real reasons we are not upgrading from Windows XP
In my editorial last Friday, I highlighted a survey that found that a disproportionate number of systems running Windows XP were infected with rootkit malware. I suggested that this could be due to users being too cheap to upgrade their personal systems, or just being plain lazy when it comes to company machines.
Several readers responded by posting their opinions in the comments section, while a number also dropped me an email to offer their take. I admit to having simplified my arguments somewhat to encourage a response--but even so, I was taken aback by the strong sentiments that business owners, IT vendors and end-users have about upgrading from Windows XP. They offered insights into the real story as to why Windows XP just refuses to die.
Reader Allan Campbell, in an email message shared how incompatibility with legacy hardware and lack of support is stymieing upgrade efforts. Clearly disappointed with the current state of affairs, Campbell put it this way: "I seek the truth and the truth is MS has stranded their XP installed base." Upgrading from Windows XP, he writes, "is not a simple matter of getting a new PC. There are a lot of software and hardware incompatibilities and [since Vista], we are not so inclined to trust Microsoft anymore."
Others are of the opinion that it's not so much about being "cheap" but how Microsoft is working to maximize its profits. N. Groeneveld on Twitter deadpanned: "Do you replace your car when a new model is manufactured?" and "From that point of view, you could wonder who's cheap and lazy--the manufacturer or the customer."
An anonymous commenter highlighted the unpalatable truth that security alone isn't a sufficiently big selling point for users to upgrade. Perhaps reacting to that, reader Martijn chipped in: "I support the point that the new OS does not add much new value and is very expensive as well." Martijn's suggestion? Sell the Windows 7 upgrade at around $25 (a price point lower than the $29 price for Apple's Mac OS X Lion). Martijn argues that this may even be a business case for Microsoft as users migrate en masse--effectively eliminating the need for Microsoft to support older operating systems.
Finally, Doug Webb thinks he has the ultimate solution all worked out: "Make the move to Mac," he suggested in an email, "The cost of [Windows] 7 is nearly the cost of an entry level Mac."