HP Is Advertising The Benefits Of… Windows 7?

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The company has launched a campaign aimed at people who just can’t get to grips with Windows 8

HP has launched a marketing campaign to boost PC sales in the US, but rather than focus on Windows 8, it is promoting the older version, Windows 7.

Emails sent by the company under the headline “Windows 7 is back” offer three desktops and two laptops up to $150 cheaper (£92) than usual, as the manufacturer is attempting to make the most of the shrinking PC market by offering a familiar  and popular option.

The “back by popular demand” spin is spurious, since HP has of course never stopped selling Windows 7. The timing may well be designed to encourage businesses to upgrade from Windows XP as the operating system is nearing end-of-life on 8 April 2014.

At the moment, it’s not clear if HP will use the same promotional tactic in the UK.

Back by popular demand

Windows 7, released in 2009, was built upon the success of Windows XP (and the failure of Windows Vista), offering solid performance without too many new features.

home_featuredproduct_367x244_right_F9A62AV_20140119Meanwhile Windows 8, launched in 2012, is a more thorough reinvention of the OS, introducing a colourful tile interface to replace the Start menu and a number of elements designed for a touchscreen – that are useless on the majority of PCs in use today.

According to IDC, overall PC sales were down ten percent last year, and traditional vendors such as Dell and Lenovo are desperately trying to keep this part of the business alive.

In this environment, HP has decided to try and sell a few extra machines by touting the benefits of a familiar operating system running on new hardware. It has combined the email offensive with an online advertising campaign and store promotions, and the results could be very interesting indeed.

Experts note that the company is likely paying Microsoft the same rate for both Windows 7 and Windows 8 licences, so for the world’s second largest PC manufacturer, customer preferences don’t really make a difference.

Even Microsoft recently changed its tune, urging customers to install any version of Windows, as long as it’s not XP.

“This news confirms that choice and variation between platforms, even from the same vendor, will continue to increase,” commented Simon Townsend, chief technologist for Europe at AppSense.

“This may prove the approach of managing a single platform difficult to achieve in the future. It will also mean the way in which devices, applications and data is currently managed will have to change to support a heterogeneous environment. Enterprise IT must be able to manage diversity, so IT departments need to set up IT so that it doesn’t matter what operating system is used.”

It is estimated that a third of all desktops in the world still run Windows XP, which was launched back in 2001. Microsoft recently announced it will continue providing basic security updates for the operating system until July 2015, but these are unlikely to stop serious attacks.

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