Ziff Davis Internet
News & Resources for the IT Reseller
NewsReviewsTech AnalysisCommentarySecurityLinux/Unix
My Account |  

Microsoft’s Upgrade Mandate for SP2 Perks Ruffles Few Feathers
By Karen D. Schwartz

Microsoft’s announcement that it will no longer support Internet Explorer patching for older versions of Windows will have little or no impact on resellers and their customers, although it may cause temporary pain for some.

Microsoft announced last month that if users want to use any of the features available in Windows XP SP2, including the SP2 pop-up blocker and ActiveX control blocker, they would have to upgrade to Windows XP or Windows XP Tablet Edition running SP2.


Some resellers and their customers see Microsoft’s decision as a defense against other, more open technologies such as the Mozilla Web browser.

“It’s interesting that Microsoft is doing this ‘forced migration’ given all the recent bad press about vulnerabilities in IE, pop-ups, etc.,” said Davin Peterson, a storage architect at NCS Tek Inc., a solution provider in Portland, Ore.

“One might be persuaded to think that Microsoft is catching up with the rest of the browsers and wants to force a portion of its client base to pick the improved IE before the customer chooses another solution.”

Microsoft clearly made this decision with economics in mind, said David Stone, vice president of business development at Solutions-II Inc., a Littleton, Colo., IT consultant and integrator.

“It’s an attempt to force users to move forward,” he said. “It’s incredibly costly to support many different versions of products. Every software vendor struggles with it because supporting the older stuff is so expensive. If Microsoft can enable people to stay current and do it within their budgets, it benefits everyone. This is Microsoft’s latest attempt at doing that.”

But for the vast majority of resellers and their customers, Microsoft’s announcement makes little difference. If anything, they said, it might prompt users to make the switch a little sooner than they might have.

eWEEK Special Report: MS Orphans Software

“Users accept that upgrades and migrations are a fact of life,” said Harry Edwards, vice president of corporate development at Helio Solutions Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based solutions integrator. “The way you instigate that process is to announce that support is ending for one environment and you are migrating people to another.”

That’s especially true for the many organizations that already have made the move to Windows XP. But for those companies that have not yet upgraded, either because of cost or because they are running specific software that isn’t yet compatible with XP, many resellers and distributors offer help. CDW Corp., for example, provides a software licensing specialist team that helps customers make licensing choices about their operating systems.

Companies that don’t want to deal with Microsoft’s latest edict might even consider moving to another operating system or an open Internet browser such as Opera or Mozilla.

PointerClick here to read about how to switch from Internet Explorer to the Mozilla Foundation’s Firefox.

eWEEK.com Special Report: Windows XP Service Pack 2

“We’re starting to see an increase in the questions we receive about alternate operating systems like Linux,” said Mark Thabit, director of product management at Vernon Hills, Ill.-based CDW. To determine whether to make such a drastic change, organizations should examine their complete Microsoft license inventory to determine whether there are opportunities to combine licenses to enhance volume discounts. If so, upgrade costs could be minimal, and such a move may be worthwhile in some cases, Thabit said.

Although the move may create pain for some customers in the short term, some say it is necessary.

“If Microsoft can leverage internal resources by focusing on current projects instead of supporting outdated technology, that can only be beneficial for all Microsoft users in the long run,” said Lief Morin, president of Key Information Systems Inc., a Woodland Hills, Calif., systems integrator.

But even though it’s a move that must take place—at least at some point—many people may complain that it’s simply too soon, creating a situation in which Microsoft may have to retreat, Stone said.

“I think they will back off,” Stone said. “History has shown that Microsoft has done that when there is a large enough outcry.”

PointerCheck out eWEEK.com’s Windows Center at http://windows.eweek.com for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

horizontal rule

Be sure to add our eWEEK.com Windows news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page



Free Hands-On Training Lab
Find out how key features of SBS 2003 can help you open up a new line of revenue. Register now >>

SBS 2003 Sales Reference Card
This handy reference card contains features at a glance, sales objection handling, pricing guidelines & more. Get it now >>

Microsoft Empower for ISVs rewards your big idea with big benefits and support.
Access key development tools at a low cost to help you develop that idea into an innovative application. Learn more >>

Changing Business for the Better: A Practical Guide to BPM

This paper provides an overview of the benefits of BPM technologies and identifies the characteristics of BPM solutions that lead to successful BPM process-centric integration projects.

Download this free white paper to learn more!

>> brought to you by IBM

Attention Microsoft Solution Providers!

Want to gain a competitive edge? Try Microsoft Watch – FREE!

Each week you receive:
  • Microsoft News and Insider Information
  • Expert Analysis
  • Code Names of Upcoming MS Products
  • Year-Ahead Calendar, updated monthly

    Click Here to sign up now for your FREE 14 Day Trial to Microsoft Watch.
  • Add up to $1,200 of value with the new BONUS PACKS.
  • HP PartnerONE: The key to increasing your margins.
  • HP Compaq nc6129 Business Notebook. $1149 Smart Buy
  • HP xw8200 workstation. Smart Buy price $1549.
  • ProLiant DL360G4p server: HP Smart Buy price $1647
  • Microsoft files new anti-piracy lawsuits. Learn more.
  • New offers with Windows Genuine Advantage.

    •Catalog Publishing
    •Dealer Management
    •Order Configuration
    •Price Management
    •Sales Management

    View All >

    Search the jobs you want & get the info you need – post your resume here today!

    Powered by Dice
    White Boxes
    MS vs. IBM
    Linux in the Channel
    Stay in the Zone
    Put The Channel Insider on your desktop.
    Subscribe to The Channel Insider: Channel News, Reviews, Resources and more.

    Make your selections below:

    Contract Watch

    The Channel Insider Update

    Preferred e-mail format:

    Enter your e-mail:

    view all newsletters >>
    Channel Insider Quick Links
    Ziff Davis Footer Logo