Jun 28

Microsoft increasing cost of software for some charities

Come in Windows XP, your time is up

Time is running out for charities who use XP

Upgrade your software now!

I was going to write a more detailed piece on this later, but recent news from Microsoft has made this a tad more urgent!

A study by Charity Finance, written by Gareth Jones (Feb 2012) showed that 65% of the charity sector are still using XP.

Now I liked XP. It was the most stable platform Microsoft had produced. In fact, I got my first job, in PR, doing data inputting. I think it was Windows 3.1, and for two days in a row it crashed, late in the afternoon, losing all the data. I went off and learnt how to fix it. They kept me on. XP became popular not because it was great, but because it simply did what it was supposed to do. And I guess that’s why so many of us stuck with it.

It was a good call. Vista came out, or as one colleague of mine once called it, Hiss-ta. It was a mess. It may have looked pretty, but its Aero theme could not hide a whole host of usability problems.

Then came Windows 7. It’s generally agreed that this is what Vista should have been. It takes a little getting used to, with its libraries and the like, but once you are used to it, it’s easy to forget the sectors collective love affair with XP.

But, if you are still using XP, you need to upgrade now.

I promise not to do this again but:

If you are still using XP, you need to upgrade now.

Microsoft will very shortly be pulling its support on XP. Now your IT department will still be able to solve most of the familiar problems. But when things get tricky and they need Microsoft’s files to solve issues, they just won’t be there.

Secondly, it means no more updates. All XP users will be increasingly vulnerable to every type of virus and malware out there. And given its enduring popularity, XP users will be increasingly targeted. And there are horrendous flaws with its password protection, but that’s for another time.

You probably know Windows 8 is coming out, but go for Windows 7. A later post will explain while, but essentially I believe that Windows 8 is designed to push Microsoft into the tablet market, and is not ideal for desktop users.

Finally, and this is the most important point – Microsoft is changing its rules as to how much discount certain charities can get. At the moment, I am getting mixed messages, some saying the deadline is July 1st, other sources say September 30th.

The rules affect those charities that receive less than 10% of their income through voluntary donations, and they will be on the end of a price hike of four-times on what is available now.

Oh, and given the changes in the filing system of .doc to .docx, treat yourself to some upgrades in your Microsoft Office packages as well!

Head to CTX and see what you can get. Pronto, please!