Techies get worked up about having the latest PC, the latest mobile, upgrades and tablets but in the real world a lot of people get by on last years' model. According to recent stats its worse than just last years' tech because some people are still using Windows XP - now 11 years old.
Most estimates are showing out of all the copies of Windows currently being used around 37% are XP. However from 9th April 2014 there will be no support for the venerable old OS. The new reality is that users will be vulnerable to new malware, virus and security issues. So the question might be 'What is stopping people from upgrading?'
Some people will have made a conscious decision not to upgrade due to a dislike of the current revision of Windows. This can be both a rational and emotional response to change. Others may have applications that depend on XP. Perhaps the largest group of people just bought a PC with Windows XP on it and they see no reason to change and will just wait until their computer fails before upgrading.
For some cost could be a factor. You normally get Windows bundled on your PC. You never actually 'buy' Windows. Essentially huge numbers of Microsoft customers don't choose Microsoft or which version of Windows they have. This is all done seamlessly in the background by their PC maker and Windows is 'free' with the PC. Many people regard Microsoft Office as a 'feature' of Windows because they paid a one-off fee on a trial version of Office that came with their PC. All these people have a relationship with Microsoft which is 'arms length'.
So if you want to upgrade your version of Windows how much does it cost? On the Microsoft UK website the cost is £189.99 for Windows 8 Pro. Buying a PC with Windows is not much more. If you are prepared to go for the non-pro version then £99.00 will get a copy. Although there are a few launch upgrade packs in stores for £49.00 left over from earlier in the year.
For the average consumer upgrading makes no financial sense at all.
There are around a billion Windows users in the world and with 37% using Windows XP that translates into more than 350 million people. If XP customers were given an upgrade at £20 then that is potentially more than half a billion pounds cash Microsoft could make and they would kill off Windows XP.
I suspect the current pricing strategy will mean people will wait to buy their next PC. The problem for Microsoft is that many people might think they don't need a PC and a low cost tablet might well meet their needs. If that happens then Microsoft will not just say goodbye to XP but also to their next sale of Windows.