A survey of 387 IT directors and senior managers at the recent IT Directors' Forum has shown that while 33% plan to start migrating to XP by the end of next year, 57% have no plans to do so.
Microsoft's Software Assurance program is a new volume licensing agreement that entitles companies to new versions of software and includes maintenance agreements - but only if companies are using the latest Microsoft products.
Research carried out at the IT Directors' Forum found that few users will be in a position to take advantage of Software Assurance. UK firms are still coping with the move to Windows 2000, and have yet to consider moving to Windows XP.
While Windows 2000 is being deployed in more companies than last year, there is still some way to go, with 70% of companies still not beyond the evaluation or pilot phase, let alone fully deployed. That figure is about the same for deployment of Windows 2000 both on the desktop and on servers.
The changes by Microsoft and other software suppliers to licensing regimes over the past year have not helped the situation. Extra cost has been incurred by 57% of the IT bosses questioned.
The survey does not reveal a significant alternative to established suppliers, for although Linux and open source deployment is increasing steadily, it still has a long way to go, especially in routine use of non-Internet focused applications, which is currently running at 3%, marginally down on last year.