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Lots of technology companies are expecting a big migration this year from
Microsoft’s Windows XP to its new operating system introduced in October 2009,
Windows 7.

That’s because the market is considered to be bloated with pent-up demand from
so many people skipping Windows Vista, the highly criticized operating system
in between. Indeed it was so criticized that many businesses and users opted
for downgrading their new PCs from Windows Vista to Windows XP.

And those businesses and end users who bought new PCs in the months before
Windows 7 was released were promised a free upgrade to Windows 7 when it came
out. For those who kept the Vista operating system, that
wasn’t a problem, VARs have told Channel Insider.

George Worthington, president of Computer Force in Warminster,
Pa., has
told Channel Insider
that he just gives a disk to users who are
upgrading from Vista to Windows 7. But for those moving
from XP (who opted for the XP downgrade), data must be backed up, favorites
saved and Windows 7 must be installed as new, and then all the data must be
loaded onto the new system.

If you explain that process to a user who wants as little work time disrupted
as possible, you know the user will delay any kind of upgrade for as long as
possible.

But IT solution providers may lean on an old stalwart to help with what might
have been a giant headache of a process.

Laplink’s channel manager Brian Schaper says the company’s PCmover flagship
product will transfer anything from the old PC to the new PC without the need
for manually reinstalling software, transferring files or transferring users.
And it’s something the industry seems to be hopping onto again as the great
move to a new Windows client operating system is under way.

“Our direct online sales grew over 400 percent in the first month after Windows
7 came out, and sales just continue to grow,” Schaper says. Some shops use
PCmover to do a mass PC upgrade deployment because of its automated nature, he
adds.

“When Windows 7 was released, one of the big issues was that Microsoft doesn’t
support the Win XP to Win 7 upgrade path so customers were forced to wipe their
drives,” he says. “PCmover bypasses that limitation and allows you to migrate.”

Laplink reintroduced its channel partner program on Oct. 1 and since then has
had about 1,000 non-OEM partners sign up.

“The value-added reseller really finds it interesting because it allows them to
increase margins significantly,” he says. “Reselling hardware and software—the
margins aren’t there anymore. It’s all in services.”

The PCmover partner program offers significant discounts of up to 60 percent
off for partners. Licenses are sold in 10 and 25 license packs, and the company
also offers a site license allowing a company to use PCmover for one year.

Prices to VARs can go down to as low as $6 per PC, while the recommended retail
price is $49.95. Schaper notes that the Geek Squad sells the service based on
PCmover for $250 per PC.

“It doesn’t take too much time for IT technicians,” he says. “Once the transfer
starts, they can go off and manage a server or make a sandwich.”

The partner program offers the standard fare, including training on the
product, marketing collateral and custom e-mails. A starter kit costs $500 and
includes 25 licenses, training and tech support, among other features.  

Schaper estimates that 60 to 66 percent of those who are still running XP could
be candidates for an OS upgrade.

“We do see a large market for XP to Win 7 migration,” he says. “It’s something
an IT service provider can offer. It’s a no-brainer.”