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UPDATED! Windows Users Refuse to Ditch XP …Much to Microsoft’s Chagrin

Posted: March 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Microsoft, Technoid Computer News, UPDATED! | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on UPDATED! Windows Users Refuse to Ditch XP …Much to Microsoft’s Chagrin

Windows Users Refuse to Ditch XP ...Much to Microsoft's ChagrinMicrosoft is a little over a month away from killing off its überpopular Windows XP operating system – April 8, 2014 – However, it seems that punters aren’t entirely in agreement with the tech-giants death yell.

February’s trends for XP and Windows 8 were unwelcome news at Microsoft, but perhaps not unexpected. In the past weeks the company has been reduced to asking customers for help in shrinking XP’s still-strong presence and has reportedly severely slashed the price of Windows 8 licenses to makers of low-priced devices in an effort to boost sales.

Much to the chagrin of Microsoft, for the second month in a row, Windows XP and Windows 8 both defied the maker’s wishes, XP, which Microsoft just wants to go away, gained user share, and Windows 8, the OS Microsoft hopes will fuel sales of new devices, flatlined in February.

Windows XP increased its share by .3 of a percentage point in February, ending the month at 29.5 percent of all personal – desktop and notebook – computers globally. In January, XP had gained a quarter of a point. The fact that the well-aged operating system accounts for a third of all Windows based PCs also has to have Microsoft tearing out strands of hair. Killing off the OS is likely to upset once loyal Microsoft devotees, but is anything likely to halt the funeral? Not a hope in hell according to Microsoft

UPDATED! 16 March, 2014: Microsoft has upped the ante in its lame attempt to lure users away from it’s almost defunct OS, offering a $50 carrot for users who buy a new Windows 8.1 device ::::

Windows Users Refuse to Ditch XP ...Much to Microsoft's Chagrin

The second consecutive month of Windows XP increasing in “user share,” a rough measurement of what fraction of the world’s computer owners run a specific operating system, is another serious setback for Microsoft, which has told customers to” get off XP” before it’s retired from security support on April 8.

Because of the continued refusal of XP to disappear, it’s now forecast that the OS will power almost 30 percent of all personal computers at the end of April, and while that number is likely to slip to around 25 percent by the end of the year, Microsoft can’t be happy with these numbers.

After 8, customers will face an increasingly dangerous future on XP, a future where cyber criminals dig up new vulnerabilities – perhaps by examining fixes for still-supported editions, like Windows 7 – and unleash exploits on the retired OS.

With so many of the world’s PCs predicted to run XP after patches stop, Microsoft faces a difficult decision: stick with the plan and risk a massive hit to its reputation if widespread attacks emerge, or back down and continue to support the operating system until more people upgrade to new devices. Neither will please everyone.

The situation is unusual: Microsoft has never had to deal with an operating system so stubbornly entrenched near its end of support. For example, when Microsoft stopped patching Windows 2000 in July 2010, the OS powered less than half of one percent of the world’s PCs.

While XP grew last month, Windows 8 remained nearly flat, just as it had the month before, another reason for nervousness in Redmond.

The combined user share of Windows 8 gained just .1 of a percentage point, ending February with 10 percent of all computers and 12 percent of those running a Microsoft OS. Windows 8’s gains over the last two months were the smallest since its October 2012 launch.

The adoption of Windows 8 continued to lag far behind that of Windows 7 at the latter’s same point in its uptake cycle. Sixteen months after Windows 7’s debut, it powered more than a quarter of all Windows machines, more than double Windows 8’s coverage.

Has Microsoft Seriously Underestimated XP Loyalty

Has Microsoft Seriously Underestimated XP Loyalty

It looks as though Microsoft has grossly overestimated the loyalty its most steadfast customers, the tech-behemoth asked for their help in getting friends and family to ditch Windows XP last month.

“There’s nothing wrong with asking your customers for help,” Gene Grabowski, a crisis and litigation specialist at Levick, said “But you have to establish loyalty before you ask them, and even then you have to structure your request so there is a distinct advantage to the customer, something Microsoft seems to have failed at.”

Microsoft neither had the customer loyalty it had assumed, nor a plan that made the effort attractive to those it asked for assistance. “Essentially, Microsoft was asking its customers to help sell more product,” Mr Grabowski said.

Microsoft made the heart felt appeal on February 7, it imploring its technically savvy customers to help others who are still running Windows XP get rid of the soon-to-be-retired operating system.

Unfortunately for Microsoft those same savvy users ridiculed the idea, saying that Microsoft’s pitch – which relied on upgrading Windows XP to Windows 8 or purchasing a new computer – was apparently unacceptable because no-one wants to recommend Windows 8.

The move was also criticised for not offering a discount on an upgrade, for not suggesting the older but more familiar Windows 7 as an alternative to Windows 8, and for not providing an upgrade-path from XP to 8 that would retain settings, files or applications.

“The problem here is that Microsoft is behaving more like the ‘Sopranos’ than a technology company,” Mr Grabowski said. “They’re simply shaking down their customers.”

Grabowski was scathing in his evaluation of Microsoft’s long-planned, long-stated decision to stop providing security updates for Windows XP after April 8. That deadline has prompted the company to urge customers to either upgrade Windows or buy new hardware, and once “Microsoft shuts off patching vulnerabilities in XP, users will be in the crosshairs of cyber criminals.”

“Microsoft’s warning its customers that if you don’t upgrade, which you have to put sweat equity into, not only do you have to pay, but you have to put in the time, you’re probably going to be hacked,” Mr Grabowski said. “They’re asking customers to buy an upgrade or suffer the consequences. That’s a shakedown to a lot of customers.”

Many industry analysts have argued that Microsoft is obligated to secure its customers no matter how old the OS, a larger number have made the point that Microsoft has supported XP far longer than usual, for nearly 13 years rather than the usual 10, and because it’s barraged customers with warnings for years, isn’t honor bound to continue supporting the aged operating system forever.

To some extent, the argument is moot either way, because many customers have the perception that they’re being exploited, and customers who feel that way are very unlikely to help Microsoft without a quid pro quo.

The XP folley is starting to irk a lot of business, let alone home users, that Microsoft’s asking them to dig into their pockets and learn a new OS, is frustrating customers. Rather than get closer to its customers, Microsoft is alienating surely them.

This massive miscalculation has revealed that Microsoft has neither a clear idea of its customers’ perspective nor a realistic strategy to reduce Windows XP’s global footprint.

Microsoft Recants… No Ongoing Support For XP in China

Last week a story by the IDG News Service reported that Microsoft China had announced some Windows XP security-related updates would continue to flow in the worlds most populated nation.

Microsoft said it was working with several Chinese antivirus vendors to continue security support for XP,  and to provide signature updates, supplying “fingerprints” of newly-discovered malware that make it possible for an antivirus engine to detect and block threats.

However, Microsoft has since updated it’s stance, it “has not changed the end-of-support policy for Windows XP users in China, and will still cut off those customers” as it will with others around the world from security patches after April 8.

“Nothing has changed regarding Windows XP support,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said in an email reply to questions.

Without new signatures, antivirus software quickly becomes useless as new Trojans, viruses, worms and other malware appear, Antivirus Vendors – AV – are hamstrung, unable to produce updates to existing software.

“Microsoft China has taken special actions to closely work with leading Chinese internet security and anti-virus companies including Tencent for them to provide security protection for Chinese Windows XP users before they upgrade to a modern operating system,” Microsoft said in a translation of the Chinese provided by the company.

IDG News’ translation was slightly different, but consistent with Microsoft’s.

Today’s announcement out of China was similar to those made by Microsoft’s head office, as well as by numerous AV companies, including Avast, BitDefender, Symantec and Trend Micro, in January.

Two months ago, Microsoft backpedaled from earlier decisions and said it would continue to offer its free Security Essentials antivirus program for XP until July 14, 2015, more than a year after it stops patching the aged OS.

A few days later, Microsoft confirmed that it would also continue to distribute its Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) to XP users until the same date. MSRT is not an AV program, but instead a cleanup utility designed to eradicate malware that has already wormed onto a Windows PC.

Around the same time, AV-Test, a German company that regularly evaluates antivirus products for Windows, said it had surveyed the major AV vendors, and found that most were going to continue providing customers with up-to-date signatures long after Microsoft pulls its XP patch plug. Tencent and Qihoo, China’s two largest antivus providers, were on AV-Test’s list.

China will not be getting special treatment, Microsoft confirmed on Monday. “There’s some confusion this morning based on statements from Microsoft China and third-party AV vendors,” the spokeswoman said.

In her email, she again repeated the standard Microsoft pitch to customers still running XP: Upgrade. “Our advice is for customers to move from Windows XP to a modern operating system such as Windows 8,” she wrote.

That advice has been blasted by customers and experts alike. Today, Microsoft reacted to some of that criticism by saying it would offer a free file transfer tool for Windows XP upgraders later this week. Although the initial version will be in English, other languages, including Chinese, will be supported at a later date.

Windows 8, Not All Bad News, Mobile Sales Doubled

It’s not all bad news for Microsoft, the tech-giant has more than doubled its sales of tablets over the past 12 months. However, it still wound up with just 2.1 percent of total tablet sales, according to technology researchers Gartner.

Windows 8 is likely to have been the hero behind the sales pickup, during the same period unit sales of Android tablets also more than doubled, going from a 45 percent market share to 62 percent. While Apple iOS devices seemingly took a big hit, falling from a high of 53 percent to 36 percent. Because the tablet market grew 68 percent, iOS device shipments grew in real terms.

Low-end, small screen tablets to new buyers again accounted for most of the increase in sales, bulking up Android device sales.

While Apple lost overall market share, its iPad remained strong among high-end tablets. “Apple’s approach will continue to force vendors to compete with full ecosystem offerings, even in the smaller-screen market as the iPad mini sees a greater share” Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner said.

Microsoft is on the right track, in trying to engage tablet users in cloud services accessible from tablets and phones, Gartner says. “To compete, Microsoft needs to create a compelling ecosystem proposition for consumers and developers across all mobile devices, as tablets and smartphones become key devices for delivering applications and services to users beyond the PC,” Mr Cozza said.

As for Microsoft’s own Surface devices, they didn’t even register on the Gartner charts, being lumped in with the 31 percent of tablets that were made by “others.”

There may be hope, though, for the Surface Pro 2, which has the full functionality of a PC laptop but in the shape of a tablet with an add-on keyboard/cover. Such devices in 2014 will appeal to both consumers and enterprises, Garner says. “There is an opportunity here for hybrid ultramobiles to marry the functionality of a PC and a tablet, and they will also prove to be an attractive alternative replacement product among businesses,” Mr Cozza said.

Microsoft Offers Fifty Dollar Carrot to Migrate XP Users

UPDATE! Microsoft Offers $50 Carrot

Microsoft has resorted to outright bribery in its – not so winning – attempt to convert last-minute loyalists to abandon Windows XP, the software behemoth is forking out a $50 to users who buy a new Windows 8.1 device. Microsoft says – via its online store – the company is giving a $50 gift card to customers who buy one of 16 Windows 8.1 notebooks, desktops, tablets or 2-in-1 hybrids. The card is good for future purchases at the e-store.

Microsoft kicked off the deal on March 4; it ends April 30.

The move is the latest in a series to convince customers to ditch the 13-year-old XP, which was sold on new PCs as recently as October 2010. Microsoft will issue the final public patches for XP security vulnerabilities on April 8.

The 16 devices that come with the $50 incentive include four notebooks, four all-in-one desktops, four tablets and four hybrids, all which run Windows 8.1, prices range from a low of $229  to $1,299.

Customers who buy one of the 16 devices will also receive 90 days of free telephone and live-chat support, and can download Laplink Express, the free file- and settings-transfer tool Microsoft announced last week that is available to anyone, not just those who purchased a new system.

Although Microsoft has beaten the dump-XP drum for almost three years, in the last few months that beating has become much more specific, telling customers that they should upgrade their existing PCs to Windows 8.1 or buy a new computer running that operating system.

Both these solutions have been met with derision, even incredulity by users hooked on XP, many who have suggested Microsoft try other strategies to reduce the old OS’s footprint, including reviving the much loved Windows 7 – most XP users are apparently suspicious of Windows 8 – and offering deep discounts on new devices.

But the company’s use of the $50 gift card shows that, even at this late date, Microsoft is not interested in a radical solution to XP’s refusal to die.

update image source: microsoft


REBLOG! Apple Retires Snow Leopard

Apple Retires Snow Leopard
Apple has made it clear that it will no longer patch OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard, when it again declined to offer a security update for the four-and-a-half-year-old operating system.

As Apple issued an update for Mavericks, or OS X 10.9, as well as for its two predecessors, Mountain Lion (10.8) and Lion (10.7), Apple had nothing for Snow Leopard or its owners yesterday :: Read the full CW article »»»»

RELATED! Europeans Fine Microsoft $700 Million Over Lack of Browser Choice

Europeans Fine Microsoft $700 Million Over Lack of Browser ChoiceThe technology behemoth that is Microsoft has been fined more than $AU700 million for failing to offer it’s OS users a choice of different internet browsers in Europe.

The company was found to have breached its own 2009 commitment to introduce a pop-up screen offering users a choice of browser, rather than just Internet Explorer. The pop-up was introduced as part of an earlier European Union competition case, but was dropped in a Windows 7 update in early 2011.

Microsoft claims the omission was simply the result of a “technical error”. The tech-behemoth was fined 561 million euros – $AU711 million – taking the total cost of its regulatory troubles in Europe to 2.15 billion euros – $AU2.75 billion – since 2002.

The European Commission, which acts as competition regulator across the 27-member European Union, said it found Microsoft broke its undertaking between May 2011 and July 2012. The Commission said it takes such settlement commitments very seriously :: Read the full article »»»»

RELATED! Apple, Microsoft and Adobe Front Australian Parliamentary Inquiry

UPDATE! Apple, Microsoft and Adobe Front Australian Parliamentary InquiryAustralia’s parliamentary inquiry into consumer electronics and IT pricing has heard testimony from Apple, Microsoft and Adobe, the testimony however failed to impress. Australia consumers pay up to 90 per cent more for some of the most commonly required IT products, the trap of course is that programs like Adobe’s Photoshop are essential, irreplaceable tools in many businesses. The price discrepancies rely heavily on an enthusiastic abuse of copyright and a heavy handed approach to geo-blocking.

The price gouging by some of the planets largest companies led the parliamentary inquiry to take the unusual step of forcing Apple, Microsoft and Adobe – The Big Three – to front up and explain their obscene pricing policies. The inquiry issued a threatening summons to the world’s technology behemoths, demanding they answer accusations.

Committee chairman Nick Champion says the inquiry has heard from many Australian consumers and organisations frustrated at the prices charged for digitally downloaded software, computer games, music, movies, and e-books. Matt Levey, head of campaigns for independent consumer organisation Choice, says Australian consumers should not have to pay so much more.

Microsoft, which employs 800 people in Australia, says attempts to compare absolute prices across different counties is of limited use because there are a range of regional factors that need to be taken into account. The company says it provides recommended retail prices for its products that take into account various market forces, such as the size of the market, and the consumers willingness to pay :: Read the full article »»»»

REBLOG! Microsoft’s ‘Go-low’ Price Slashing Puts Windows Revenue at Risk

Microsoft's 'Go-low' Puts Windows Revenue at Risk
Analysts are uncertain if the recent stretch of “go-low” moves by Microsoft means that the company has tweaked its strategy to emphasize services at the expense of devices.

“Occam’s razor suggests that this is a response to Chromebooks more than anything,” said Ben Thompson, an independent analyst who covers technology at his Stratechery website, of the report last week that Microsoft has cut Windows 8.1 licensing fees by 70 percent for devices that will cost less than $250. “There are very few people who will buy both a Chromebook and a Windows PC, whereas most people will buy both a PC and a tablet.” :: Read the full CW article »»»»


Chinese Bloggers Take Note

source: cw/levick
source: multivu/gartner
source: netapplications
source: idg/google
image source: indeepmedia/google

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