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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, 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 jimhsu on 3/21/2014 3:05:14 PM , Rating: 2
Depressing but not surprising. The last time I worked in a lab with that kind of equipment (chromatography in my case), they were running Windows 3.1. Yes, really. In 2009.

Often such equipment is built on proprietary software and obsolete interfaces (9 pin serial ports are still widely used today, and I've even seen parallel ports [the ones way back in the days before printers came on USB]). The more specialized and expensive that particular kit is, the less likely that it'll be upgraded. For one, manufacturers have no incentive to provide upgrades on the software side when they're trying to sell you that new and shiny $250k machine that has user convenience features - when that 10-yr old relic that you have works perfectly fine, sensitivity/specificity wise for your needs.

You'll likely see such equipment go away with a fresh injection of research funding. Given the current situation of the NIH and other funding agencies, plus the economy, I don't see that as likely in the forseeable future.

RE: Still not affordable
By jimhsu on 3/21/2014 3:08:40 PM , Rating: 2
Oh yea ... that machine in particular did not have WAN (fortunately). Neither did it have USB ports, though.

Our data gathering was limited to a) 3.5" floppies (again, yes in 2009) or b) analog (as in manually copying values on a lab notebook). Depending on the volume of data and the difficulty of finding working floppy drives, (b) was usually faster.

RE: Still not affordable
By JediJeb on 3/21/2014 5:09:27 PM , Rating: 2
Ours is a chemical analysis lab, we do mostly environmental monitoring and the equipment is chromatography, mass spectrometry and plasma spectrometry. We are in the position of having equipment worth $100k-$400k tied to a PCs that are ancient. In the last couple years we had to buy about six of these pieces of equipment simply because we needed to get rid of the old PII400 computers running NT4. Since the interface cards were ISA slots, you just can't find new computers with those these days. So we spent about $300k just to replace two aging computers(three instruments running on each computer). The problem is the instruments were running just fine, no longer supported but they just never break. And to be honest they give better results than the new ones that replaced them.

RE: Still not affordable
By jimhsu on 3/21/2014 6:24:16 PM , Rating: 2
Chemistry ... yea I thought so. My experience was also in a chem lab (though student). Now that I'm in a molecular bio lab, we get newer toys, though this is more out of necessity (because many things that we use now haven't been invented back in 2005 or so) than actual money to be had. Our confocal is nearing 10 years, though it does run Windows 7.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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