While many of us are thinking about the eventual shift to Windows 8, Microsoft is still trying to convince a number of businesses that moving from XP to Windows 7 is the right decision. To help get its point across, the company sponsored a white paper by analyst firm IDC that looks at the costs associated with the two different operating systems — and it turns out the using XP can be quite a bit more expensive for medium-to-large organizations. According to IDC — which interviewed nine different companies as part of the study — the IT and "end user labor" costs associated with XP can be up to five times more compared to using Windows 7.

"Costs tend to soar when older products are used beyond their intended life cycle," IDC concluded, noting that the associated costs increase as the operating system ages. Of course, since the report was sponsored by Microsoft the results should be taken with a grain of salt. And with support for Windows XP and Office 2003 due to end on April 8th, 2014, this is clearly a heads up to companies that the change should be made sooner rather than later. Then again, if your company is still using an OS that's more than a decade old, there's probably a good chance that it's not in a rush to upgrade. You can download the entire report here.