Microsoft provides lure to leave Windows XP

Dangles carrot for migration to Windows 7 and Windows 8

Microsoft is offering the incentive of a 15% discount, available until the end of June, for small and midsized businesses to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 8 Pro and Office Standard 2013.

The company has made the offer on its Windows for your Business blogpost in response to worries that a lot of businesses are not moving quickly enough on migration.

Microsoft plans to remove support for the Windows XP operating system, which has been around since 2001, in April 2014. Erwin Visser, Microsoft's Senior Director for Windows Commercial, says in the blog that businesses that have not yet begun a migration to Windows 7 or Windows 8 should begin to do so as soon as possible.

"While the end of support for Windows XP is still one year away, the migration process can take some time and may be costlier the longer you stay on Windows XP, ultimately putting your business at risk," Visser says, adding that the new Windows platforms are better equipped to deal with security threats.

Microsoft also steers businesses towards Windows 8 with a pitch for its ability to support mobile working.

The warning and offer comes shortly after a survey by rationalisation specialist Camwood showed that a large proportion of businesses have not yet made any efforts to migrate away from Windows XP.