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Microsoft news dominates top 10 desktop developments of 2014

Thanks to Windows and Office developments, Microsoft news was among our most popular coverage of the past year. See which articles came out on top.

SearchEnterpriseDesktop's Microsoft news coverage this year will look familiar to longtime readers. Desktops and other enterprise endpoints continued their inexorable march to newer operating systems in 2014. While Windows XP remained in use at nearly a quarter of organizations, IT administrators had to choose between Windows 7 (whose own support is also ending), Windows 8.1 and waiting for Windows 10.

In other popular articles this past year, HP's split into separate PC and services companies may benefit PC users, Office 365 licensing terms were altered to help smaller businesses, and organizations have many options when planning migrations. Mobile computing and increasing interest in the cloud may overshadow desktops and laptops, but those devices aren't going away anytime soon.

Below are our top 10 news stories of the past year. What did you think were the biggest desktop developments of 2014, and what would you like us to cover in 2015? Let us know in the comments!

10. The end of Windows XP support forces IT to choose an OS path

Now that Microsoft has ended official Windows XP support, enterprise IT shops must decide between a regular operating system upgrade, adopting virtual desktop infrastructure or moving to desktop as a service and cloud-based desktops. Each offers different benefits, and those sticking with XP should consider the security risks.

9. Can refreshing PCs every two years save money?

The conventional wisdom says that companies should replace PCs every three or four years. For some organizations with power users, however, a more frequent cycle might even raise productivity.

8. Standalone Windows Enterprise upgrade could benefit Microsoft more than customers

Microsoft added a Windows Enterprise upgrade SKU, adding yet another layer of complexity to its licensing program, but a few IT pros were wary of the option as merely a scheme to attract users to Windows 8.

7. Leaving Windows XP doesn't have to be a hassle, thanks to migration tools

IT admins may be understandably apprehensive about moving legacy data and apps from Windows XP. Fortunately, there are tools for browser management and Web-based data.

6. HP split, renewed focus could benefit PC buyers

In non-Microsoft news, HP's division into HP Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, will have HP Inc. selling PCs and printers and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise focusing on services, software and the cloud. Hardware buyers shouldn't expect anything to change immediately as the company responds to the mobile market.

5. IT shrugs at Windows 8.1, even as Microsoft preps Windows 10

Adoption of Windows 8.1, which includes several changes from Windows 8, has been slow. Can Microsoft's planned Windows 10 (which industry observers expected to be called Windows 9) do better so soon?

4. Changes to Office 365 subscription plans intended to help SMBs

Another round of changes to Microsoft's Office 365 pricing for small and medium-sized businesses was aimed to simplify licensing and rebrand the product. It will also affect the company's partners.

3. Universal apps stimulate interest in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.1

Applications that run across all Windows 8 devices, including laptops, tablets and phones, could provide opportunities for developers and encourage enterprises to give the OS another look.

2. Out with the old: Mainstream support for Windows 7 approaches its end

Just when you got used to the idea of mainstream Windows XP support ending, Microsoft's end of life for Windows 7 will be in January 2015. The OS is stable and popular, so many IT pros are reluctant to move to Windows 8.1, while some of them are looking ahead to Windows 10.

1. Industry adoption for the Surface Pro 3 eclipses the Windows RT Surface

A number of enterprises, including Coca-Cola and BMW, have responded to the appeal of the Surface Pro 3's larger screen and more modern apps. The Windows RT Surface is still in use, but its prospects are unclear.

Next Steps

Dell adds systems management controls to KACE K1000 v6.0 appliance

Microsoft shifts focus to Office 365 and DaaS rather than discuss desktop OSes

Self-service administration might lighten IT's workload but raises security concerns

Windows Intune to include a tool to help manage iOS and Android business apps

PC vendors expect an uptick amid Windows XP's demise

Dig Deeper on Unified endpoint management

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What do you think will be the most important Microsoft news of 2015?
It's telling that 25% or organizations are still running Windows XP, and my guess is that many of the Windows 7 orgs will likewise follow suit. I just don't see there being a large uptick in Windows 8.1 happening.
The most important MSFT news of 2015 will of course be Windows 10. The most important non-MSFT news will be lower prices for Intel powered tablets and hybrids.