Microsoft’s Windows operating system has a big year ahead. Windows 8, Microsoft’s first operating system to run on ARM processors, is expected to ship in the fall, and a consumer preview released in February has the hype machine in full swing. Windows XP end-of-support also looms less than two years down the road (it was released in 2001). As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide hot fixes, product updates or security patches for XP (released in 2001) and Office 2003. For businesses still running the software it's time to start thinking about rolling out a more modern Windows environment.
James Nicholson, deployment specialist for Windows at Microsoft Canada said that Windows XP and Office 2003 end-of-support provides opportunity to the channel as customers begin to move to a modern desktop.
“A majority of our customers are still in the early phase of deployment and rely heavily on the expertise of the channel to help them through what can be an involved process,” Nicholson said. “Partners who are able to position themselves as the customer’s trusted advisor for deployment will benefit from the huge opportunity for hardware and software refreshes and associated services revenue.”
The channel might be wise to focus its efforts in Windows deployment on the SMB market. According to Nicholson, the SMB segment in Canada lags slightly behind the enterprise space. He said enterprises need to begin the transition sooner because they require a longer deployment cycle, “and have greater complexities to get to a modern desktop.”
But there is still opportunity for partners to get in on the refresh cycle. Nicholson said that Canada still has millions of business users running Windows XP and Office 2003, adding that many of the same users enjoy a more modern experience from their personal devices at home. “Contrasting this experience with a XP/Office 2003 desktop at work is not favourable,” he said.