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Will XP Users Upgrade Existing PCs to Win 7?

With today's deadline to sign off of the Windows 7 RC, many users have to decide whether to go back to Windows XP or Vista, or whether to pony up and upgrade to Windows 7.

Providers of PC migration software like Laplink and Detto Technologies can capitalize on that decision either way. In my news story, I described how I used Laplink's PCmover to upgrade to Windows 7 from the release candidate, but the software is really intended for those with XP or even older versions of Windows looking to a) migrate those systems to brand-new ones, or b) do in-place upgrades of existing PCs from older versions of Windows to Windows 7.

Systems with Vista don't require a clean install when upgrading to Windows 7, though in many instances it might not be a bad idea. But those with XP have no choice other than to perform a clean install. And that's where Laplink has its sights. While PCmover is a retail product, Laplink is also is trying to extend its reach to the enterprise. Laplink has OEM arrangements with Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, as well as 1,000 channel partners.

Why would a channel partner want to bother with a low-cost tool like PCmover? A $500 starter kit for 25 licenses is a good way to offer small businesses PC migration services, said Mark Chestnut, Laplink's senior VP of business development.

"For someone who is in the business of delivering PC migration as a service, we lower their cost of delivering that service and allow them to make better margins," Chestnut said.

Many small businesses may not have the patience or the resources to re-image their Windows 7 systems, Chestnut said. That offers a services revenue opportunity for solution providers, he added. Microsoft insiders tell him there are still 20 million machines running XP that are eligible to be upgraded to Windows 7.

"The current economic environment being what it is, companies are really obviously clamping down on IT spending, yet Windows 7 has some huge advantages," Chestnut said. "I think they will take a closer look at keeping as many of the old PCs and preserving their previous investments longer, than in the past."

Are you considering upgrading your older hardware to Windows 7? Or, if you're a solution provider, do you see an opportunity? Drop me a line at jschwartz@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on March 01, 2010 at 11:59 AM


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