HP is expecting Windows XP finally being killed off to have more of an impact on its PC sales than Windows 8 ever managed, with the OS retirement expected to open up a huge market of upgraders who have so far held off from buying fresh hardware. The change in platforms, as Windows XP extended support finally ends in April 2014, will see many users - particularly in businesses - finally replace their PCs, HP said on Monday, Computerworld reports, something the company aims to capitalize on.
"We think this will be a big opportunity for HP," Enrique Lore, senior VP and general manager of HP's business computing division said of XP's expiration. The possible growth in enterprise is of particular interest to HP, with Lore estimating that 40- to 50-percent of business users are still using Windows XP, despite Microsoft having released several different platforms - Windows Vista, Windows 7, and most recently Windows 8 - in the intervening period.
Windows 8 had been seen as the magic wand for the PC industry, which had seen sales of Windows 7 machines slump, in part due to the underwhelming economic climate. However, the OS failed to deliver on those expectations, particularly in business use, with its perceived focus on touchscreen interaction being seen as a play more for the tablet and consumer markets.
Meanwhile, XP has refused to die in the way that Microsoft had expected it might. Although official support for the last Service Pack 2 release ended on July 13, 2010, extended support under Microsoft's Support Lifecycle Policy continues until April 8, 2014. Beyond that point, no further security patches will be released.
Asked whether XP finally falling out of support would do more for HP's sales than Windows 8 had, Lore said predicted "significantly more" units shipping because of that fact. The demand would, unsurprisingly perhaps, be seen "especially on the commercial side."
Microsoft, meanwhile, will attempt to address some of Windows 8's perceived shortcomings with the upcoming Windows 8.1 "Blue" update. That will return missed features like the Start button, as well as better integrate the traditional Windows desktop with the new Metro-style launcher screen.
Windows 8.1 will be a free upgrade in the next couple of months, though HP isn't relying solely on Microsoft's OS for its fortunes. The company has also been experimenting with Google's Chrome OS, as on the HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook we reviewed last month.