March 09, 2010, 9:11 AM — Not everyone is interested in upgrading to Windows 7 -- at least not right away. Computerworld 's survey respondents who said they have no plans to upgrade reported that they just don't see enough benefit, particularly in these tough economic times , to warrant the cost of migration.
For Carl Weddle, director of IT at Quality Trailer Products, Windows 7 isn't even on the radar. "We were clawing our way out of a hole until a few months ago," he says, referring to the recession. Even in better times, he adds, "I tend to stay on the back end of the technology curve because it's cheaper there."
But procrastinating could be costly in the long run. Microsoft says it will end support for Windows XP with Service Pack 3 on April 8, 2014. (Organizations still using SP2 will lose support in 2012). People who wait too long -- or whose migration projects get too far behind schedule -- may get stuck paying for custom support, under which getting critical security fixes can run upwards of $200,000 per year.
Microsoft has slipped support dates before, and some organizations are staying on the sidelines to see if that happens again. "We'll wait and see if Microsoft talks about extending that," says Norbert Cointepoix, director of IT at Axium Health Care Pharmacy Inc. And Sean Seay, corporate director of infrastructure at health care provider network Premier Health Partners, isn't in a rush to upgrade his firm's 10,000-plus Windows XP computers. "We hope Microsoft extends" XP support, he says.
Even some of the largest enterprises may be sitting on the sidelines. As principal at Alexander Risk, a London-based security consultancy that works with large banks, Geoffrey Leeming says his banking customers generally have a wait-and-see attitude. If previous upgrades are anything to go by, he says, upgrading to Windows 7 will happen only "when Microsoft absolutely refuses to support XP anymore."
But don't count on Microsoft sliding the end of support date this time. Gartner analyst Michael Silver says Microsoft may have learned to stand firm on end-of-tech-life issues. "Every time they delay end of support, companies delay plans to get off the old OS," he says. He suggests that organizations get started, noting that by 2014 XP will be more than 12 years old.