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How Can XP Cost More Than Win 7?

When you move from XP to Windows 7 you either buy a new machine or upgrade the old one. The first approach clearly costs money. You buy a new machine. Then you have to get security software, possibly some other news apps -- and there's a decent chance the old peripherals won't work (I've got a stack full of defunct HP printers, if you don't believe me).

And management tools all have to move along with the client shifts.

Then you and your end users have to learn the new OS. If you upgrade older systems, almost all the costs are the same (minus the expense of buying new computers), though you may need RAM and other sundry hardware items.

The No. 1 reason IT doesn't buy new operating systems? They cost more money.

A new IDC study that Microsoft paid for says that what seems intuitive to me is actually completely backwards. If I had half a brain (or if Microsoft paid me to think), I could be bought to think that Windows 7 is way cheaper than XP.

IDC claims maintaining an XP machine cost an average of $870 a year. Windows 7 is dirt cheap at only $168. This is largely because Win 7 is less prone to malware, so IT spends less time on the phone with users and less time fixing the infected machines.

I think Win 7 is substantially better, but still not perfect as it still has a lot of XP-style behaviors. I have apps that still semi-freeze for no apparent reason (I guess Win 7 likes to take a break whenever I even think about printing) and I've had my laptop reimaged at least twice (but I do admit, I use my machines hard and put 'em away wet!).

What do you make of IDC's math? Compare it with your own at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/30/2012 at 1:19 PM


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