Much has been made of the persistently large market share of users and businesses continuing to run Windows XP, despite three newer generations of Windows OSs (Vista, 7 and now 8).

This market share is estimated at over 40% worldwide, according to’s October report.

The continued “success” of XP,despite Microsoft’s efforts to promote Vista and Windows 7 is widely seen as a problem for Microsoft and a sign of unwillingness of users and businesses to be dragged automatically dragged along with each new OS version.

Many enterprises have just completed or are in the process of transitioning to Windows 7, so for these users, moving forward to Windows 8 might not be a near-term event.

However, consider the large numbers of users still running XP, according to NetMarketShare.  In the U.S. that number is 22%.  For businesses, that is still a large number.  For Microsft, it is an opportunity.

A recent survey by PC Helps of more than 500 IT leaders and managers from US-based companies with 500 employees or more found that 25% of these organizations were already anticipating migrating to Windows 8.  Many of these conceivabely, would be XP users.

Over half of the respondents believe Windows Windows 8 would be a greater challenge for end users due to the very different user interface. However, opinions were “generally positive about Windows 8 as a platform for their businesses”.

What do you think? Is the XP user base an albatross or opportunity for Microsoft?

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