Big biz 'struggling' to dump Windows XP
Microsoft's bagged only easy Win 7 wins, says Browsium
Windows 7 is running in just 20 per cent of large enterprises with the most difficult migrations yet to come.
That’s according to web browser specialist Browsium, which said 80 per cent of big companies - those with 10,000 or more PCs - are still clinging to Windows XP even though support for it is due to end in two years. But IT department bosses fear the cost, difficulty and disruption of moving business-critical apps from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 and 7, which are off-limits on Windows 7.
The figures take the shine off a claim this month from Windows and Windows Live group exec Tami Reller, who told 16,000 partners that more than 50 per cent of enterprise desktops are running Windows 7, which was released in October 2009.
The Browsium team, which sells a tool to run IE6-only apps on Windows 7, quibbled with Reller’s numbers. The startup said the migrations so far have been easy ones in mostly small- and medium-sized businesses and in education. It's still an uphill, and IE is the sticking point.
“Regardless of your optimistic or pessimistic view of '50 per cent', we’re finding trouble brewing behind the data,” the Browsium gang blogged here.
“When you look at very large enterprise – banks, healthcare and insurance companies, government organizations – where Browsium does the majority of our business, the picture is not so rosy. These enterprises are struggling to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7 … and to eradicate IE6 and IE7 in the process.”
Browsium claimed its estimate is backed up by the people it talks to: chief information officers, systems integrators who run migration projects, and even Microsoft’s own sales force.
“We continually hear that legacy web applications are the number one blocker to migration. When it costs millions of dollars to rewrite or replace a critical business application, migration projects invariably stall until a cost-effective solution can be found," the blog coninued.
Browsium offers a web browser plugin called Ion, which runs IE6 and IE7-only apps in IE8 and IE9 on Windows 7. It does this by recreating the IE6 environment, including configuration files and security settings, within newer browsers.
Microsoft’s own advice on moving apps off of IE6 and IE7 isn’t particularly helpful – in fact it’s probably compounding the problem: developers are told to rewrite old apps, which will cost time and money.
Browsium, set up and run by ex-Microsoft IE experts, is two years old but the UK's tax office, HM Revenue and Customs, is among its customers. HMRC is in the process of moving 85,000 PCs off IE6 and Windows XP to IE8 and Windows 7. The cost to HMRC is just £1.28m – compared to a reported bill of £35m using the recommended approach of an application rewrite. ®
So Microsoft's attempt to lock people into the Windows environment has been too successful and it is keeping them from moving on within that environment?
Re: Re-write the programs.
Let's say I invested £3 million quid procuring and implementing a business critical application back in 2004BF (Before Firefox), I capitalised the cost and wrote it off over three years, and it costs 20% of capital to keep it on its feet.(Costs are reasonable for a middling enterprise, multiply by 10 for a big enterprise).
Suppose it would cost me another £3 million to procure a replacement that works with modern browsers, three year write off and again operating costs are 20% of capital costs.
Option A: Continue to sweat the assets, taking £60,000 off my bottom line (profits) this year.
Option B: Invest in a replacement system in the middle of an ongoing global slump, taking £1,060,000 off my profits this year and the next two years?
Which to you think the CFO would (and regularly does) choose? He's not an idiot by the way, he understands the potential downsides to under-investing (security risks, higher cost to fix in a hurry later, etc,). Right now short-term expediency is the order of the day for many businesses.
Re: Windows 8
...a minimum 95% of the desktop, leaving just 5% for user applications.
There, fixed that for you.
I'm sorry, but WALOB
The key test for *anything* is (1) does it work ?, and (2) is there any reason not to continue using it ?
With hardware, then (2) tends to rear it's head with age, until you get the answer "we might not be able to fix it again" - at which point a replacement is mandated.
However, software can't "wear out", so judging (2) tends to be harder.
Your comment was immature in the extreme, and marks you out as someone who has never worked in the real world (I guess it's Uni holidays now). Any change is a risk. So unless you are changing to mitigate a bigger risk, then you shouldn't be changing at all.
Let this be an object lesson to all, especially Microsoft, as to why standards, and sticking to them, are important. IE6 was an evolutionary blind alley, taken by MS when it was fighting for browser market share and now it's paying the price (along with all its customers who've got the IE6 apps).