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Dell pins hopes on Windows 8.1 and Windows 9 to push XP upgrades

23 Jan 2014
The Dell XPS 11 is a 10.8-inch tablet and ultrabook hybrid

Dell is hoping Windows 8.1 and the rumoured Windows 9 will tempt firms away from the ageing Windows XP operating system, insisting the "cool factor" of the Modern user interface (UI) will eventually win consumers over.

Speaking to V3, Dell's European end user computing marketing chief Margaret Franco said she expects that Windows 8.1 – released in late 2013 – will spur consumer demand.

This, she says, is because of its slight visual tweaks intended to better explain the relationship between the touch-centric Modern UI and the traditional Desktop mode.

She added that the rumoured launch of the next iteration of Windows would also help matters, particularly in the business community. "When Windows 9 comes out, we're also seeing a lot more interest around developing the transition strategy for their OS," she explained, adding that Dell is heavily focused on coaxing firms running 13-year-old Windows XP machines to newer devices.

"There is a pressure point in order to start accelerating OS migration because in April, that's when the support for XP ends. We're seeing much more interest around OS planning and strategy planning, such as finding out what the benefits of touch are."

On Tuesday HP drew attention to its marketing strategy by discounting laptops and desktops running Windows 7, saying they had been brought "back by popular demand".

When asked whether the Windows 7 ship had sailed for Dell, Franco said yes, adding that she could not comment on the company's future plans. She said the "cool factor" of Windows 8.1 would be enough to convince consumers to choose Microsoft's latest operating system instead of Windows 7.

While Dell saw PC shipments fall in 2013, it saw much less of a decline than its rivals, with traditional desktops and laptop shipments falling by 2.4 percent. Rivals such as Acer and Asus saw much steeper declines, with the industry average decline at 10 percent, according to IDC.

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Michael Passingham

Michael Passingham joined V3 as a reporter in June 2013. Prior to working at V3, Michael spent time at computing magazine PC Pro. Michael covers IT skills, social media, tech startups and also produces V3's video content.

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