Windows XP will introduce improved reliability, manageability and security, Microsoft claimed last week, thereby allowing the channel to talk up return-on-investment opportunities as part of the XP sales message.
Paul Roworth, Microsoft Australia's Windows product manager, told ARN last week that it is a myth to believe that tweaking older architectures is a more cost-effective manner of restricting channel customers' IT costs.
"With the Windows 9X architecture, you are working within certain parameters. There is only so much you can potentially tweak," Roworth said.
"The core architecture underneath XP is dramatically improved from Windows 95 or 98. The little amount of tweaking that you can do [to Windows 9X] is not going to give you anywhere near the ROI benefits you can get from moving to a 2000-based architecture.
"There is a 50-fold improvement in reliability for starters," he claimed.
Roworth said that reliability equals down time, which equals money in increased support costs. Customers understand that message, he said. "The whole reliability, security and manageability is greatly improved in terms of being able to roll it out and support it."
Roworth also said the channel should be aware of the opportunities for value-added services that are generated by the richer communications and remote desktop help and support features of XP.
"A reseller can create new business opportunities around the remote desktop," he said. "In a lot of cases, the relationship a reseller has with a small business consists of selling them the PCs, helping them set up the environment and then managing it for them, as typically these smaller business don't have an IT person on hand.
"Having the ability to do remote desktop support in a very secure way directed to the people that are having problems is a new element introduced into the support of those systems. It provides the opportunity to develop new services revenues and saves the reseller from having to do on-site support.
"Opportunities like that could be exposed if the reseller can provide a higher level of serviceability."
Coast to Coast
"What HP/Compaq merger? It'll make no difference whatsoever" - Dawn Moore, proprietor, S&D Computers, Appila, SA.
"Inevitable. It's the only way for those companies to survive" -Bill Main, Main Marketing Services manager, Kalgoorlie, WA.
"As long as HP maintains Compaq warranties . . . that's my biggest concern at the moment" - Dave Snodden, sales manager, Dean's Computers, Cooma, NSW.
"We steer clear of the dodgy [PC] brands with all-in-one motherboards and recovery disks. We hope they keep the Compaq servers, though" - Adam Duncan, store manager, AlphaPCs, Darwin.
"I think it would be better if [HP and Compaq] kept one brand. Until the brand issue is decided on, I can't see any real difference in sales" - Eugene Cambides, Retravision assistant manager, Belconnen, ACT.
"The HP/Compaq merger will certainly have an impact on the local reseller market here, but at the moment the whole thing is up in the air" - Mike Clarke, AlphaWest 6, Hobart, Tasmania.