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Wednesday, 31 October 2018 11:30

Microsoft, Intel want SMBs to buy new hardware. Please make them happy

Microsoft, Intel want SMBs to buy new hardware. Please make them happy Pixabay

Microsoft wants the population of Windows users to grow. Intel would like to see that happening too, given that it is joined at the arm and the hip to the Redmond software behemoth. Newer PCs are more expensive, but run the bloated Windows operating system that much faster.

And so, given that statistics can tell their own sweet tale of deception, the two companies have joined forces and produced a survey which claims that old technology is costing small and medium-sized businesses thousands of dollars.

Sounds like the logic which a nephew of mine was prone to use, whenever I was late to pick him from kinder many years ago. He would burst out crying as soon as he spotted me and, when asked why, would tell me that he did so because he was afraid that I was scared!

The problem for Microsoft is that Windows runs like a dog on older hardware. And unless hardware upgrades can be forced, Windows users are unlikely to be able to use the bloat from Redmond at anything more than a snail's pace.

And so, to the survey, which appears to be a recycled work of art. Part of it was released 20 days ago. Now comes what is referred to as "new research revealing old technology is costing Australian small businesses thousands". Old wine in new bottles, one presumes.

Some of the "research" in the survey is rather puzzling. One "finding" is that the cost of "keeping" (whatever that means) a PC more than four years old is $5012 per device. No indication is given of what that amount is spent on. Does every PC have a dedicated security guard?

To someone like this Luddite, it is more confusing than to most. You see, I use a PC that is eight years old, which I built myself, but which costs nothing as far as upkeep is concerned. One difference is that it runs a GNU/Linux distribution known as Debian, which does not demand new hardware to run, even though I update it every day. I'm just guessing, I'm no hardware or software expert.

Maybe the owners of small- and medium-sized business use the PCs on their premises as playthings or take out their anger on the devices, destroying parts which then have to be replaced. Perhaps that's why the upkeep costs are so high. One can only hazard a guess as this survey, carried out for Microsoft and Intel by an organisation known as Techaisle, offers no insights on this score.

Now, you can call me a cynic, but over the last four decades of being in this profession, I have generally found that if a company is recruited to carry out a survey/study/research, said company generally tends to produce results that please those who hired it. Reason? Simple. It ensures repeat commissions and keeps everyone happy.

No mention is made by Techaisle of the enormous investment that SMBs have to make in protecting Windows PCs which can be infected by viruses, worms, ransomware, malware, scamware, adware and other forms of malicious code that are yet to be invented.

Computers running macOS, GNU/Linux or any of the BSDs are not affected to even a tenth of the extent that Microsoft products are.

Perhaps the folk who carried out the survey could offer some insights in this direction?

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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