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BLOG: Why Microsoft won't convert Windows XP holdouts

Andy Patrizio | April 16, 2013
Some PCs aren't going anywhere until they flat-out die.

There are other reasons as well. Microsoft executives have been living in their bubble too long. It must be nice to have an immensely profitable firm that doesn't need to make mass layoffs, but here's the reality: 663,000 people left the workforce last month and now 90 million people out of a nation of 330 million are no longer even looking for work. They've got priorities, and a new PC is not one of them.

Then you have folks like my father, a retiree using an aging PC who sees absolutely no reason to upgrade. Dad is hardly broke; 35 years with one company has given him a pension that surpasses my earnings, embarrassing as that is to admit. He could buy a new PC any time he wants to. But frugality has him wondering why he would ever consider it when his PC works fine. I tried to convince him to upgrade before Windows 8 shipped because I did not want him using 8, given how user-unfriendly it is, but no go. Dad will use that thing until it dies and he can't repair it.

Then there's the rest of the world. Europe is in the toilet to various degrees of economic failure and they are all begging the Germans to save them (there's a switch. Usually Europe is begging someone to save them from the Germans). EMEA in general has slowed and even the BRIC countries have stalled out. Part of that is due to people skipping PCs and going straight to tablets and smartphones, while the rest is simply those markets starting to mature and sales slowing.

And I think it will be like this in perpetuity. Ten years from now when we are using Windows 10, there will still be Windows 7 users because, gosh darn it, HP and Dell and Lenovo made their PCs too damn good and they didn't break soon enough. Hell, I know of some Amiga fanatics still using Amiga 4000s, machines made more than 20 years ago.

Microsoft really shouldn't bother with these laggards. A blanket offer like 15% off on Windows 8 is pointless and will get very few bites. At this point, it should be focusing its energies on corporate and business users who have not been able to make a migration, not outliers who will run their PC into the ground. Gartner estimates that about 35% of PCs still need to be migrated today, and by this time next year, about 15% of organizations will still have about 10% of their PCs left to migrate. Focus on them.


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