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Some restrictions may apply

Just how desperate is Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) to get customers to relinquish their death grip on its nearly decade-and-a-half old operating system, Windows XP?  It's now offering customers $100 USD to get rid of their old Windows XP PC -- although some restrictions do apply.
 
The caveat is that you have to trade in your computer at a Microsoft Store, and you have to buy a new Windows 8.1 machine that costs $599 USD or more (limiting the maximum discount is roughly 16 percent).
 
The good news is that most of the laptops and desktops at Microsoft stores are relatively new, so it's unlikely that Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), Newegg, and other online retailers will be able to offer a better deal, on average.
 
Microsoft has previously offered a $50 USD gift card for those who traded in XP machines.  By contrast the new deal is simply a direct discount, redeemable instantly off your purchase.

Windows 8.1 discount

The initiative won't likely do Microsoft any great favors financially, given that it already was rumored to have cut Windows 8.1 licensing fees on low cost machines from $50 USD to $15 USD (which would indicate an $85 USD loss on the current deal, if accurate).  But the deal isn't quite that bad for Microsoft as it creates goodwill with its OEM allies who are grumbling about the impact of poor Windows 8.x sales on their bottom line.  Plus Windows 8 comes with the Windows Store, and Microsoft gets a cut of app revenue
 
Windows 8.1 has been met with tepid casual consumer and enthusiast response, outside of tablet devices, which seem to perform quite well with the new Metro user interface.  Microsoft has promised for a second time to repair Windows 8 for non-touch devices with the Windows 8.1 Update 1 and future follow-ups later this year.
 
Windows XP computers are still found in vast quantities in many parts of the world.  While they're now in the minority in the U.S., Microsoft's figures suggest that when the April termination of support for the platform rolls around 65 percent of users in China -- the world's most populous nation -- will still be using Windows XP.  Unfortunately there's not enough $100 USD discounts to solve that dilemma.

Source: Microsoft Store



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RE: Still not affordable
By tayb on 3/21/2014 2:45:09 PM , Rating: 2
$6,800 to upgrade an operating system and two days of down time? What the hell are you doing? I could blow up the computer with dynamite for sport, order new parts from Amazon/Newegg, assemble a new machine, and re-install all of the software for a lower price and less downtime.

Do you mind telling me the labs you work for? I need to get in on this scam.

I am also extremely alarmed that you have some level of control over lab equipment and yet you do not see the urgency of upgrading a 13 year old operating system that is about to become the largest virus haven in computing history.


RE: Still not affordable
By 91TTZ on 3/21/2014 4:06:35 PM , Rating: 2
Tayb,

You don't seem to be familiar with laboratory/industrial settings. Often they run specialized software that was custom programmed a long time ago, and it's difficult to simply upgrade the OS without breaking that software.

My girlfriend works for the Navy and they run diagnostics software for the engines on helicopters on Windows 3.1. Why do they run this? Because when it was designed it worked perfectly fine and it still works perfectly fine. There is no need to upgrade.

Places like this exist all over the place, with computers running CT machines, CNC machines, mass spectrometers, engine diagnostics, etc. These computers run specialized software and aren't used for browsing the internet.


RE: Still not affordable
By JediJeb on 3/21/2014 5:32:48 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
$6,800 to upgrade an operating system and two days of down time? What the hell are you doing? I could blow up the computer with dynamite for sport, order new parts from Amazon/Newegg, assemble a new machine, and re-install all of the software for a lower price and less downtime.


Can you do all that and include an ISA port in the computer for the interface card, or supply the $6000 plus software upgrade from the equipment manufacturer along with setting it up to run the equipment?

quote:
Do you mind telling me the labs you work for? I need to get in on this scam.


I work for an environmental testing laboratory, one of the larger ones actually. We do things like test your drinking water to make sure it is safe to drink, or the waste waters to make sure people are not polluting the environment. The problem is those people want to pay the very least they can for that work, and there are always some person with a little lab in their garage trying to pull customers away, well until the customer gets a fine because those guys were running their samples without being certified to do so.

We run a several thousand samples per month, but the total revenue for a company like us is maybe $5M per year, not so much to work with when you could spend 20% of that to replace a couple pieces of equipment.

quote:
I am also extremely alarmed that you have some level of control over lab equipment and yet you do not see the urgency of upgrading a 13 year old operating system that is about to become the largest virus haven in computing history.


I would love to have everything running on new computers, but I can budget in to replace hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment because a few thousand dollars of computers are getting a little old. Heck we just got rid of our last W3.11 about 4 years ago and our last NT4 computers two years ago. We did manage to upgrade some of the old W95 computers to XP about 10 years ago which did help, but that still left us with slow computers(PII 300mhz) running XP.

The front office has all W7 boxes and all only a few years old, and we keep those up to date because those are the ones that face to the internet. In contrast I still have two in the lab stuck with XP SP2, because if you upgrade to SP3 the equipment control software just refuses to work, and if you try to reinstall it you get a warning that you are running SP3 and the install program ends. Call the vendor and they say "sorry we don't upgrade that any more, but you can purchase our new equipment, we will even give you a $10,000 trade in." Too bad that is less than 10% of the total cost.

Industrial/Laboratory setting are just different from other types of work that rely on computers :(


RE: Still not affordable
By Bubbacub on 3/22/2014 2:41:00 AM , Rating: 2
Why not run it under a virtual machine? If it connects via a parallel port you can use a USB to parallel adaptor + virtual machine. I use this to play around with an old original palm pilot On my Linux install.

If you need a 16 bit isa slot then I guess you are stuck.


RE: Still not affordable
By sorry dog on 3/23/2014 12:37:42 PM , Rating: 2
If your equipment will work with AMD stuff...I believe the Abit KT7A had one 16bit legacy slot, a couple usb ports, and even parallel and serial ports. It was quite snappy at 1.5ghz with some decent hard drives running XP and had 95/98 drivers as well. You can still find some rebuilt ones that have had the caps replaced. If you pay postage, I'll send you an old Thunderbird 1.33

I miss those days...hardware was much easier to deal with.


RE: Still not affordable
By JediJeb on 3/24/2014 4:24:46 PM , Rating: 2
On one piece of equipment we tried to install the software on W7 and it all went great until it started asking us to insert the floppy disk with the hardware drivers on it. We tried them on a USB stick but the install software is hard coded to look for drivers in A: directories. Tried remapping the USB port to A: but that didn't even work. Maybe if we had one of the USB attached floppy drives it could be made to work, but it may also be trying to go directly to the FDC on the motherboard.

As for compatibility Agilent in the last few years just started using control software that doesn't use the WoW(Windows on Windows) process, up until then it was all using a 16bit backbone with 32bit GUI or something like that. It was essentially the original DOS/Win3.11 version of software with just enough added to make it compatible with W95/WNT4/W2K/XP and now W7. They never marked any listed as compatible with W98 or Vista. The version compatible with XP SP2 was not compatible with SP3 and it even did a check when you start up the software, and if you upgraded to SP3 it would stop working. Those were the first ones to be cut off the internet, because if they ran autoupdate it could cause us to have to completely reload the original version of Windows. Total headache those were.


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