If you're still using Windows XP, Microsoft has a message for you: Stop. Upgrade to Windows 8 instead.
Microsoft plans a carrot-and-stick approach to get customers off XP, says Computerworld. The stick: Support for the 11-year-old operating system ends April 8, 2014, and Microsoft plans to stop even issuing security patches then.
Some 11 years after launch, XP still has 37 percent of market share, compared with 5 percent for Windows 8, as of last month, according to Netmarketshare.com. Some 586,000 PCs will have to migrate off XP every day to meet the deadline for the end of XP support.
Microsoft's goal is more modest, to get XP below 10 percent by that time. Even that's going to be tough.
Microsoft is providing the carrot to its partners to get their customers off XP. Partners will see a $32 billion service opportunity, based on a $200 per PC average, according to ZDNet.
Microsoft will spend $40 million in fiscal 2014 to continue its Windows Accelerate Program for moving customers to a modern environment. As part of that program, Microsoft pays some resellers and integrator partners to create proof-of-concept Metro-style apps to demonstrate to customers.
Microsoft is also extending its "Get to Modern" program for small and midsized business users, who typically don't plan far ahead and will need partners to help them do a quick change off XP. And Microsoft and HP are working together on a new XP migration campaign. (HP competes with IBM, which is the exclusive sponsor of Internet Evolution.)
All of that is great -- for partners. But what about enterprises? If they're willing to take a chance on foregoing support, why should enterprise customers get off XP? Says Computerworld's Preston Gralla:
People and businesses are staying with XP and away from Windows 8 for a reason: XP does what they want, and Windows 8 doesn't. Until that is fixed, all the carrots and all the sticks won't get people to upgrade from XP to Windows 8.
But Microsoft is serious about migration. Its two top priorities for next year: Getting businesses to stop using Windows XP, and making Windows 8 tablets the top business tablet.