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    Microsoft Offering Price Breaks to Coax Small Businesses to Adopt Windows 8

    In its ongoing effort to promote migration to Windows 8 in the corporate world, Microsoft has introduced a new tactic – the corporation is offering price breaks to small and medium-sized businesses, hoping to wean them off of Windows XP.

    According to ZDNet, Windows 8 use remains low across the board, even more than five months after the release of Microsoft's new operating system. As of the end of March, 44.73 percent of users were still running Windows 7, and 38.73 percent were sticking with XP. Windows Vista was the No. 3 most popular OS, and Windows 8 was fourth at just 3.17 percent.

    Clearly, more needs to be done to incentivize​ companies that are considering making the switch. That's where price breaks come in – ZDNet's report says that small businesses currently running XP Professional can get a 15 percent discount on Windows 8 Pro and Office 2013 if they order before June 30.

    The other thing Microsoft is doing to lure clients away from Windows XP is cutting off support resources. April 8, 2014 will be the last day of technical support for XP users – after that, companies that haven't upgraded will be on their own. The Financial Times recently reported that with respect to this deadline, a large number of companies are behind the curve. A study of 250 IT managers found that less than 50 percent had begun to address the problem. Microsoft warns that customers should typically take 18 to 30 months to complete the migration from Windows XP to a newer version.

    Microsoft isn't the only agent working to make XP obsolete. The Financial Times also reported that according to Gartner research, 60 percent of independent software vendors are working on new products that won't work with XP.

    "The message that Microsoft is switching off the lights is being received loud and clear by the IT community, but it would appear that the businesses don't understand the perils of remaining on XP," Camwood CEO Adrian Foxall told the news source.

    On the other hand, operating system migration can be expensive, even with Microsoft's new price breaks, and costs are certainly a major consideration in the corporate world.

    "In these tough economic times, it is not surprising that business leaders do not want to invest a substantial amount of money in something that essentially isn't broken, as is the case with Windows XP today," Foxall said.

    Microsoft is still working to wean more clients off of its older operating systems and onto newer and better products. That transition is proving to be a difficult slog.