When it comes to releasing new versions of its products, Microsoft has largely stuck to a predictable pattern. Recently, however, it’s become clear that Microsoft has shifted gears. In 2012, we experienced a wave of new releases that left no major product untouched—activity we haven’t seen in almost 3 years. Now it appears that the next 12 months and beyond will see a similar rate of change. Windows Server 2012 R2, SQL Server 2014, Lync 2014, System Center 2012 R2, and Visual Studio 2013 are all expected to be major releases (ie, not free service packs). New Office “Gemini” apps will be available in 2014 in the Windows Store, and Microsoft is hinting at a new Windows desktop OS every year. Read on for 3 benefits you can expect from Microsoft’s need for speed.
So what does all this activity mean for you? Here’s the way we see it:
1. More bang for your Software Assurance buck: Typically, during a 36-month SA contract, you might have received one major upgrade. The way it looks now, you could capture 2 new versions of many products during your contract period—increasing your ROI.
2. More options: With more stable, viable software versions out there, it’s easier for you to pick the products that best fit your organization.
3. Less disruption for the user community: More incremental updates mean your users won’t have to learn to use a product all over again every time it’s upgraded. Remember the lurch from Office 2003 to 2007, with the introduction of the ribbon, new document formats, etc.? It was painful for end users. Since then, most of the software changes we’ve seen have been less revolutionary and more evolutionary. We expect this trend to continue—fortunately for your end users.
In general, we recommend that you embrace the new aggressive release cycles. Does that mean you’ll need to upgrade more frequently? Not necessarily. But we do see this as a way for you to more easily identify and deploy those software versions that are right for your organization. And as always, you can give us a call at PC Connection for more information about Microsoft’s products and licensing.
Windows XP reaches final end-of-life on April 8, 2014. What this means for your organization is that Microsoft will stop providing Service Packs, security patches, and support after that date. It’s time to break up with XP; click here to start crafting your exit strategy.