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For the past couple of years, small businesses have been hunkered down fiscally, purse strings tightly knotted.  Every area felt the impact, including the upgrade to new PCs.  As the downturn ebbs, SMBs may still be hesitant to lay down dollars for new computers.  After all, they still run run the programs I use, right?

Market research firm Techaisle studied 1000 small businesses in the US, UK, China, Brazil and India, an endeavor funded in part by Intel and Microsoft, that demonstrates that thinking is likely costing businesses big bucks as workers cool their heals waiting for ever more numerous costly repairs.  In addition, the study points out that businesses also take it on the chin from compromised security, and losing advantages from new applications and technologies in new PCs.

According to Techaisle, laptops and desktop computers older than three years experience 40 percent more downtime – 50 hours per year – and cost 1.5 times more to maintain.  From an example in the study of a representative small business with five PCs – two older and three newer than three years – the study demonstrates that replacing the two oldest computers would save the company $1,500, roughly the cost of a couple of laptops or three desktop PCs.

Underlying the savings in more efficient maintenance and enhanced productivity, Techaisle pointed to innovations in PC software and hardware.  Techaisle suggested upgrading to Microsoft’s Windows 7, in particular Windows 7 Professional, rather than Home Premium, for its advantages in security, collaboration, manageability and compatibility with older applications.

Looking at recent hardware innovations, Techaisle sees advantages in PCs with faster, multicore processors, among those the 2010 Core vPro processor family, which also offer improved graphics, energy efficiency and wireless communication.

After looking at all of these angles, Techaisle concluded that “price conscious small businesses would benefit significantly from replacing older PCs with modern PCs.  I’d be interested in hearing from small-businesses owners and others about their PC refresh experiences.  So, let me have your thoughts.

There is also more information on Microsoft’s Windows for your Business site from Sandrine Skinner, director, product management for Microsoft.

Joakim Lialias

Microsoft Marketing Alliance Manager

Intel Corporation

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