Microsoft's Corporate VP of Windows, Tammi Reller, admitted today at the Windows Partner Conference that nearly three quarters, or 74 percent, of business PCs are still using Windows XP. Despite both Windows Vista and 7 having been released as far back as three years ago, many have refused to upgrade and in some cases are keeping systems for longer than they would have before. The average age of a work PC is older than it has ever been, at 4.4 years, Reller said.
The software developer spun the discounts as opportunities for PC builders, as it hoped many companies would soon be upgrading their systems to a newer OS.
The exceptional longevity of the OS is unusual, however, and reflects a reluctance to adopt a new OS even after Windows 7 addressed many outstanding complaints that left companies skipping Vista. Even with the addition of the Windows XP Mode virtual machine in 7, some have argued that the Vista architecture and later won't work with legacy apps and hardware. It likewise still carries stiffer requirements that will often push them to completely replace systems rather than install the OS in place or make minor hardware upgrades.
Home users have been more willing to upgrade to the OS and have contributed to 150 million Windows 7 licenses being sold so far; Microsoft expects 350 million licenses by the end of 2010. Apple, however, has often had a much faster transition to new operating systems. It has been helped in part by a much larger ratio of home users, but also by a software environment that has been far less anchored by a dependence on legacy apps than Windows.