Still running Windows XP, Will Google notebooks win the upgrade war? Several dozen Windows XP systems running in your office or home which will face Microsoft’s XP end of life deadline on April 8, 2014. Microsoft (MSFT) could win lots of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 business as you or your office dump older offerings. But then again another big winner could be Google Chromebooks from Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Toshiba. Why?
Why is Microsoft ending support for Windows XP and Office 2003?
In 2002 Microsoft introduced its Support Lifecycle policy based on customer feedback to have more transparency and predictability of support for Microsoft products. As per this policy, Microsoft Business and Developer products, including Windows and Office products, receive a minimum of 10 years of support (5 years Mainstream Support and 5 years Extended Support), at the supported service pack level.
Thus, Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will go out of support on April 8, 2014. If your organization has not started the migration to a modern desktop, you are late. Based on historical customer deployment data, the average enterprise deployment can take 18 to 32 months from business case through full deployment. To ensure you remain on supported versions of Windows and Office, you should begin your planning and application testing immediately to ensure you deploy before end of support.
Accordingly to the VAR guy, roughly 22 percent of U.S. school districts now run Google Chromebooks, the low-cost, cloud-centric notebooks, according to Business Insider. Admittedly, some of those schools may have only a handful of Chromebooks. But NPD Group, a market research firm, claims Chromebooks represented 3.3 percent of back-to-school system sales.
At first glance that’s a tiny figure compared to the massive Windows market. But consider these variables:
# Can Microsoft really afford to lose market share and Windows XP upgrade opportunities when the overall PC market has been contracting?
# Will Chromebooks gain even more momentum since the the cloud-based design eliminates the need for time-consuming desktop upgrades?
Somewhere, Google’s channel partners must be smiling. Cloud Sherpas, a Top 100 Cloud Services Provider has offered and supported Chromebooks for some customers. And K-12 resellers seem to be kicking the Chromebook tires more and more frequently, The VAR Guy has heard during a few private conversations.
The bottom line: Microsoft wants thousands of Windows XP customers including schools to jump to Windows 8.1 in 2014 or sooner. But some schools are instead making a leap of faith to Google Chromebooks.