DING DONG XP IS DEAD: What does it all mean?

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First, I would like to thank all of you who read my previous article, ‘The Windows XP Nightmare Continues…’ also here on GeekBrainDump.com (You can read it here:

http://www.geekbraindump.com/2014/02/the-windows-xp-nightmare-continues-2/

As you all are no doubt aware, Windows XP EOL (End of Life) has officially happened. IT IS DEAD. As a franchisor, we are always taking in research, demographic, and other such reporting data almost continuously. One thing we learn from having 60+ franchise units across the US, and several across the globe, is this: PEOPLE ARE STILL USING XP. I wanted to take this opportunity however, to address, not so much the misery of continuing to use and or support XP, (for that, see my previous article) but rather, the mythos that are now circulating the IT professionals around the country.

Myth #1: The fact that all these ‘old PC’s’ running Windows XP suddenly upgrading will create another boom in the Computer Sales/Hardware categories.

FALSE: At least in our view, even if everyone in the world who owned an XP machine upgraded today, that would, at best, only create a small, temporary ‘envelope’ of sales of new hardware. You have to keep in mind 3 factors:

1.) When Windows XP had first come out, we had barely forayed into what hardware was really capable of. We had BARELY broken the 1Ghz barrier (remember that the original release of Windows XP would run on a 233 MHZ machine with 64 MB of RAM, and If you stripped it down via a custom install, would run on 48 MB of RAM) Because of all the then new innovations in hardware technology, hardware was EXPENSIVE. I remember having no problems at all custom building (white-boxing) PC’s for business clients paying upwards of 1500.00 with no issue PER PC. It was indeed a golden age for us repair folks. BUT, now, we march to a VERY different tone. Servers then, would easily run upwards of 10-20k in some instances, now, you can completely virtualize off-site with a scalable solution for little more than a cup of starbucks ever day. Example: About 4 weeks ago one of my long time clients wanted us to customize a desktop for him. The entire build cost (not the price we sold it for mind you) for a SERVER CLASS machine, with XEON processors in it, 32GB of RAM, and Windows Server 2012 R2 on it, was LESS than 800.00 Think about that, a standard workstation end user computer 13 years ago for upwards of 1500.00 dollars, and now, a server class machine for half that. My point here is, even if everyone using XP did go out and buy a new computer, the hardware simply isn’t as expensive, and would only generate a temporary ‘buzz’.

Myth 2.) Because Windows XP enthusiast will simply not give up without a big fight, providing security for XP is a viable income source.

FALSE: Again, this myth rest on the faulty assumption that Windows XP CAN be protected. Sure, you can virtualize, but for the everyday, end-user, that isn’t a reasonable solution. The 50-year old boomer using his XP machine isn’t going to do that. Frankly, I would argue against the moral scrupels of anyone trying to blindly guide people into the ‘you can still get by with XP’ attitude, because it gives them false hope. You should instead, be using the security threats as a means of migrating people from XP to (I would argue) Windows 7.

Myth 3.) Windows 8 will see a boost of popularity because of the necessary migrations.

FALSE, KIND OF: It is true that if you walk into an average retail store today you will be buying a Windows 8 machine. However, that does not make it popular. Consider the shock–your used to the big blue startbar with the green start button, your used to the tellitubbies like grass background of a fresh Windows XP install, and suddenly–you end up with WINDOWS METRO. We have seen more calls to make Windows 8 look like Windows XP/7 then ever before. Simply put–people don’t like it, and people who have used nothing but Windows XP will not likely enjoy the new interface. Point in case: While it is true that the average Joe who walks into a big box retail store will likely get suckered in to Windows 8, that does not by any means mean that they will like it or enjoy it. In fact, experience shows quite the opposite. This is also where techies like ourselves come into play-if your customers, business or otherwise, are seeking upgrade opportunities, customize them an option with Windows 7 Ultimate, you won’t be sorry, and neither will they. They will get what they want-and XP-like interface that is familiar, and you will get what you want–a happy customer, a successful conversion, and not to mention…money in the bank…

Myth 4:) The XP End of Life schema was intentionally done this way to boost late quarter Windows 8 sales.

FALSE: At least, not likely. I would argue that Microsoft has made some pretty darn stupid decisions in the past (Win98SE, WIN ME, WIN Vista, etc) and none of those proved to later benefit them, and in fact in almost all mentioned cases, made them loose market share, if anything. Again, although true that the average Joe who goes to ‘big box retail’ stores will get sold Windows 8 machines, that does not mean they will be satisfied with them.

Myth 5:) Windows XP problems from those who refuse to upgrade will create a new market for computer repair:

FALSE, KIND OF. While it is true that there is some potential for at least new hardware sales, It simply is NOT going to be a revival of the ‘golden-age’ circa 2000-2004. While some reports show projections of increase in revenue due to hardware repairs–just consider-the hardware in most late-model XP machines (which stopped being retailed in January 2006 when Vista released) is now AT LEAST 8 years old, and frankly 80% of XP machines retailed prior to early 2005, making the equipment in most machines 10+ years old. It simply is NOT viable for the XP CONTENDER to say ‘please upgrade my 56k modem’ when we live in an age that simply put, you would be hard pressed to FIND a ISA,EISA or PCI 56K modem to begin with. (Do you young folks even remember legacy systems, 8 bit interfaces, ISA, EISA, PCI, AGP1X, and USB 1.0?)
Truthfully, if your client insist on XP, convince them into Windows 7. More secure, same look, better for everyone. NO, there will not be any revival of the Computer Repair business model as us ‘old cats’ remember it.

Myth 6.) Other governments are paying Microsoft for support, therefore we will still get updates.

FALSE: WRONG. Those organizations are paying tens of millions of dollars for continuing support for XP to protect their critical infrastructure while upgrades are made. While I would argue that this is a great time to reach out to business clients and migrate them to Windows 7, I would certainly point out for those who believe they are going to be able to obtain these updates, that these updates will be pushed out via secure FTP ONLY to those who have paid for them and will NOT be publicly available. If your clients are telling you to get these updates—they are misinformed. FOLKS–I cannot stress enough–NO MORE XP.

Myth 7.) Isn’t it true that 30%+ of 1st world countries are running on XP?

TRUE: Even though this is true, it does not mean it is wise. Governments have known for YEARS that XP was going to die eventually. Some have planned for it, but honestly, most have not (or have not adequately) prepared. Will they be vulnerable? Most likely not, since these countries are paying Microsoft as mentioned above. Again, I would argue the necessity of upgrading infrastructure, and point out to my IT friends here that this is a bug opportunity to capitalize. TONS of hospitals, ATMS, enclosure monitors, railway manufacturing software, etc. is all based on versions of Windows XP (typically Windows XP Embedded), and this presents an opportunity. If you notice places still running Windows XP — contact them, and use it as an opportunity to gain business.

Okay, so it is my hope that I have dispelled SOME of the myths regarding Windows XP here. There are many, many more and I will attempt to tackle them as they come. For anyone who might like information on the Windows XP situation, feel free to email us operations@nerdswecanfixthat.com

Don’t forget to read my initial article here for more insight on the XP Issue:

http://www.geekbraindump.com/2014/02/the-windows-xp-nightmare-continues-2/

Author

Adam Johnson

Some data shared in this blog is the property of Nerds To The Rescue, Inc. Unconditional license for public viewing and fair use is hereby granted. All other products mentioned are property of their respective owners.

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