MS must be getting a little desperate to start moving its huge installed XP base to a newer version of Windows. That’s the only good reason I can come up with for the company’s ongoing promotion — good through June 30, 2013 (not 2014, alas) — for buyers of Windows operating systems and Windows Office suites. A 15% discount will be available for up to 249 copies (which puts this on the low end of SMB spectrum, which the SBA defines as a going concern with anywhere up to 500 to as many as 1,500 employees, depending on one’s market niche). Such purchases must go through a Microsoft Partner company, which you can dig up through their Microsoft Pinpoint pages.
This effort comes in tandem with a white paper that MS commissioned from IDC entitled “Mitigating Risk: Why Sticking with Windows XP is a Bad Idea.” The paper’s banner bears a Windows 8 logo, but the descriptive copy includes the phrase “this white paper covers the business and operational benefits associated with a move to Windows 7 and why remaining with Windows XP is no longer a good business decision.” Microsoft’s advice is for SMBs to “get modern” and drop the old stuff in favor of the new, because it’s not just faster and better, it’s also more secure, better able to work with modern software and apps, experiences less downtime, and — of course — is still eligible for MS support services.
I’d say this was a good deal if the discounts were deeper and the window of opportunity a little bigger. But for those operations already considering migration or upgrade, this could be a nice inducement to go ahead and take advantage of the savings it can deliver. For those inclined toward brinksmanship, the inevitable question is “If they’re offering 15% a year before the end-of-life date, will the discounts get better as that date approaches?” Who knows?