More than half of small to mid-sized enterprise users are still operating with Windows XP and barely anyone has migrated to Windows 8, an annual report released by Softchoice Corp. reveals.

The last time Softchoice conducted its SaaS study, in September 2012, 68 per cent of its clients were using Windows XP across half a million devices. The latest update shows that some progress has been made migrating away from the operating system that faces an end-of-support date of April 8, 2014, but not much. Windows still makes up 58 per cent of the enterprise environment in September 2013. Windows 7 has grown from 32 per cent to 41.8 per cent since last year, and Windows 8 emerged onto the pie chart with just a 0.2 per cent share.

Softchoice Windows OS market share
A chart from Softchoice’s 2013 SaaS Study.

Softchoice collected its survey data from its own clients, mostly through its TechCheck audit service for enterprises. The survey represents 7,199 end users across 23 organizations ranging from small to medium-sized enterprises in various industries such as finance, law, health care, and manufacturing. The full Shadow IT in the Enterprise: Softchoice SaaS Study 2013 is available for download for those who register.

Microsoft has been making efforts to migrate users of its popular Windows XP OS to a “modern” version of Windows for months now, investing marketing dollars and rallying its partner community. Once the end of support date arrives, it will no longer issue security patches or updates for the OS released in 2003. Other software vendors will also not spend time testing whether new applications are compatible with Windows XP.

“Companies need to make concerted efforts to migrate away from Windows XP before the operating system no longer receives vendor support and security patches,” the Softchoice report states. “Without regular ‘Patch Tuesday’ security updates, cyber-criminals will have an infinite timeline to uncover and exploit vulnerabilities.”

With the emerging Windows 8 deployment on enterprise PCs, Softchoice also advises IT departments to get ready for new applications that include cloud storage, collaboration, and productivity suites. In one more encouraging statistic for Microsoft, the Softchoice study found its SkyDrive cloud-based storage service is the most popular among enterprise users. It is used by 79 per cent of those surveyed, compared to 42 per cent for the next-most popular cloud storage app, Dropbox.


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