Computers seem to be lasting longer these days. Maybe it’s because the quality of hardware has improved as manufactures have improved their designs. Computers are a key assets to all business offices these days and the question of upgrading seems to be a constant struggle between cost and efficiency. Maybe computers are lasting longer because Microsoft has lengthened their software release cycles. The new Vista operating system was released five years after Windows XP, while the previous three operating systems where released every two years. The same goes for Microsoft Office software. Desktop software is reaching a plat-toe in its usefulness as Enterprise software is consolidation into larger software packages with longer release and integration cycles. All the while, Internet software is just getting started as millions of new businesses are creating software and services for the Internet. But, Internet software runs through a web browser, which is more taxing on your Internet connection speed them on your computer. Therefore, even as many new applications are moving to the Internet, they are not adding to the burden of computers.
All of these changed are extending the life of computers. Yesterday I was in a meeting at work with the IT director of my company discussing whether or not the company should change the upgrade cycle from three years to four. If compute upgrades are not improving productivity like they used do, then why upgrade. I’m sure computer manufacturers are also noticing this trend and it’s not good for their business, which is why they are focusing their growth on emerging nations like China and India. At the same time, people are still increasing the number of computers they have.
I have three computers at home and two at work. Two of my computers are older than two years old, but I haven’t run out of hard drive space or memory and nothing has stopped working. I’m beginning to think that I can get another year or two out of my home computers before I need to upgrade.
Upgrading a computer can be expensive. The type of computers I purchase cost about $1000-$1500, but I also have to spend about 4-6 hours installing software and moving files to the new computer. Then, I have to keep the old computer lying around for another month just to make sure I didn’t forget anything.