Windows XP users "don't care" about upgrading, claim market watchers

That being said, some users are sticking with XP because their applications are incompatible with newer versions of Windows and Internet Explorer.

Camwood's Gemmel said determining the applications that need to be reworked or replaced for the move to Windows 7 or 8 requires a "significant amount of work", especially for larger businesses.

"Companies that haven't upgraded to Windows Vista will hit a lot of application compatibility issues and may need new versions of their problem apps to move to Windows 7, for example," he said.

It is time for vendors and service providers to pay less attention to XP users.

"Everything from in-house developed software to older versions of Adobe Reader, SAP software and Oracle financial apps can be affected by [these issues]."

However, working out what apps need to be updated or ditched during a company-wide Windows upgrade can help reduce the overall cost of the migration.

"We are working with organisations with [in excess of] 2,000 users and they can have anything between 600 and 10,000 applications across their estate," explained Gemmel.

"We can help them understand which ones they use, which are duplicating the functionality of another application and streamline the number of applications they have by 30-to-60 per cent.

"Finding that out can save them money in migration, licensing, support and management," he claimed.

For example, he claims Camwood saved a company over three quarters of a million pounds by stripping out 250 surplus applications from its software estate.

"The problem is that many companies have no idea just how many applications they have in the first place," he added.

The cost benefits of whittling down the number of apps you have is unlikely to convince CIOs that are dragging their feet on Windows upgrades to hurry up, argued Longbottom.

"Most XP-using organisations have their own support teams who have ironed out the issues with their own usage of XP. If Microsoft disappeared off the face of the planet, they would hardly notice," he said.

"It is time for vendors and service providers to pay less attention to XP users, and work with those who may have recognised that we are now in the 21st century," he added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.