Microsoft partners are poised for stellar growth over the next year, as enterprise and SMB customers start upgrading to the latest versions of Windows and Office, the software giant said Friday.
"It is literally the year for you to make money with Microsoft," Long Tran, Microsoft's director of technology strategy solutions for SMB, told solution providers at Tech Data's TechSelect conference in Puerto Rico. Windows 8, Microsoft's next-generation operating system, represents a massive opportunity for partners, Tran said, as end customers begin their migrations to the new release. Though Windows 7 upgrades will help grow partners' businesses, upgrades from Windows XP, Tran said, are really where the money is. "There are over 200 million copies of XP out there. It's over 10 years old," Tran told the crowd. "There is no lower hanging fruit than Windows XP [upgrades]."
What's more, Tran said, end customers in many cases will refresh their hardware alongside their Windows 8 upgrades, meaning even greater revenue streams for partners.
"Research shows that for every dollar in licensing that you sell for Microsoft, there's roughly eight dollars in hardware and software that's attached to that," he said.
Microsoft has dubbed the coming year the "year of upgrade," projecting that, in addition to Windows 8, customers will be looking to adopt the latest version of the Office suite -- Office 365 -- along with Windows Server 2012, Microsoft's latest server and cloud platform.
Microsoft's upgrade projections are more bullish than some analysts' have been. Gartner predicts, for example, that Windows 8 upgrades will occur more incrementally over the next couple of years, with most enterprise choosing to "sit on the sidelines for now." The firm projects, specifically, that 90 percent of enterprises will bypass broad-scale deployment of Windows 8 through 2015.
Stephanie Dash, a national account manager at Systms of New York, a TechSelect member and solution provider based in Rochester, N.Y., also believes Windows 8 upgrades will happen more steadily, over time, rather than abruptly over the next year. Much of this, she said, is simply because the software is so new and looks so drastically different from prior Windows versions.
"People hesitate a little bit to move to the new releases," Dash told CRN. "They first will maybe try it within a certain group within their company before rolling it out to everybody."
That said, Dash did say both Office 365 and Windows 8 provide a sleek new look and feel that she anticipates customers will embrace over the next few years.
PUBLISHED NOV. 9, 2012