By Peter K. Han, Microsoft Vice President of US OEM

imageWinston Churchill once said, “To improve is to change.” In the working world, as in life, change is all around us. Yet, change is often greeted with fear or, at a minimum, hesitation.

This theme is common in conversations I’m having with business leaders. The reason? With the impending end of support date for the Microsoft Windows XP operating system less than a year away, a number of them find themselves in a state of change that will affect how they conduct business, support customers, and communicate.

Change is inevitable, and a necessary part of improving and strengthening ourselves. This is exactly the goal that Microsoft sought when it began developing the new operating systems that have followed Windows XP. It is our job to improve the security, efficiency and productivity of the systems that allow people around the world to grow and strengthen their businesses.

To put it in perspective, Windows XP was released in 2001, a time when fax machines were still integral to nearly every business, and the first smartphone was created. Today, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 56 percent of US consumers have a mobile device, with a growing number of smartphone users. Woodshops have been replaced with robotics labs and even our cars are connected to the internet. For businesses, keeping up with this change is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. And as more information is processed through the Internet and digital technology, growing cybercrimes are increasingly putting those on outdated technology at risk.

In the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, volume 15, researchers discovered that Windows XP is six times more likely to be infected by malware than Windows 8, despite facing a similar quantity of malware attacks. Quite simply, Windows XP cannot support the rapidly expanding mobile world we live in, while new devices running Windows 8.1 are capable of seamlessly syncing mobile operations with fixed operations, allowing businesses to serve their customers in the ways they’re demanding.

Each day I have the opportunity to work within an entire industry dedicated to supporting your business—Microsoft OEM partners. Collaborating with companies such as Dell, Lenovo, HP, and others, I see firsthand the effect that pairing the right software with the right hardware can have on a business. And although taking the plunge to a new operating system, or new device, may seem beyond the reach of our comfort, the opportunities opened to businesses cannot be ignored.

Businesses, however, do not need to face technological evolutions alone. Microsoft and its partners are committed to supporting the hardworking individuals who move their businesses forward each and every day. And I’m excited to be a part of that team.

Check back here each month for updates on the work Microsoft and OEM partners are taking to support businesses of all shapes and sizes.

imageConnect with me on Twitter @PeterHanMSFT about what your business is doing and how Microsoft can help.