How is Microsoft's Windows XP and Office XP being received in the market, either by users within your firm or by your customers?

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The stability of Windows XP has had a significant effect, both within our company and with our clients. Users on an XP platform have not suffered the ritual re-boots caused by blue screens and system locks that are common for any Windows ME or Windows 98 user. Office XP has had little effect on my clients. Most were happy with Office 97 and have little need for the collaboration and Web-based tools offered by the more recent versions. Few of my clients have upgraded to Office XP, unless they needed to for application purposes.

Gene Marks, CPA
Demand Systems
Philadelphia, Pa.

Our opinion at K2 is that Windows XP is not ready for prime time. We have found too many problems with networking, missing drivers, and even the blue screen of death has reared its ugly head. While we think it will eventually be a very significant move forward for Microsoft, we feel they rushed this product to market with too many bugs, not enough drivers for other products, and default settings which don’t make sense in many cases. For example, one thing that will drive advanced users nuts is the automatic search and connect feature in networking.

Partner Insights

Val D. Steed, CPA, MA
K2 Enterprises
Centerville, Utah

We are seeing some reluctance on the part of our customers to adopt Windows XP, as one of our accounting software publishers has not supported that platform until its most recent release. We expect that now that this obstacle has been removed, users will be more willing to deploy the new Windows product. We have found that Windows XP Professional is solid and offers some exciting new enhancements. These are exciting new developments, but unfortunately not compelling enough to justify upgrading existing Windows 2000 users to XP. As for Office XP, we have deployed that in volume for some time, and there are few problems.

Jeff Mack
ICS-Support
Kirkland, Wash.

We are on Windows 2000, but are using XP at home to become familiar with it. I am not sure that we will convert as thus far there is no compelling reason for us to do so yet. In any event, if we upgrade, it will be after the first service pack and well after tax season.

Jim Humphres
Humphres & Associates
Nashville, Tenn.

We never like being on the bleeding edge of Microsoft. Thus our firm and clients are mainly on Windows 2000 and Office 2000, with no great rush to adopt XP.

Rod Matheson, CA
Groupe Conseil Matheson Giroux
St. Laurent, Quebec

The general responses I get from customers (small and medium businesses) are a.) Not enough new that is important enough to justify an upgrade; b.) New license terms and procedures are very irritating; c.) Extreme unhappiness when peripherals don’t work and compatible drivers aren’t available. Some of this happens in almost every site; d.) Irritation at losing access to Windows 98 (none of my clients used Windows ME) for desktops; and e.) No interest whatsoever in Office XP. Most would be happy just to have the features in Office 95 available in a reliable product.

Name Withheld

While the XP Pro product seems to be working well at this point, we are still taking a more prudent stand and recommend that our clients wait. Another issue relates to the deployment of Windows XP in a networked environment. Since Microsoft has yet to release the final Windows XP Server product, and one can install Windows XP Pro at workstations attaching to Windows 2000 servers, there are some management limitations in this configuration.

Bruce MacBain
Software First
Lenexa, Kan.

People have XP on new desktops they have bought for home use and reactions to it are very positive overall. However, few of our customers are concerned with it, being generally happy with Win 98/NT/2000 in spite of their limitations. What I am hearing is that XP is viewed as being very good quality and worthy of upgrade, but it still requires IT expertise to perform upgrades smoothly and without work stoppage. As a result, our small and small/mid-sized customers are NOT in a rush to upgrade.

Russell Murray
Watts Up
New York City


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