Software vendors reach out to users who resist upgrades

Hoping to raise awareness about the importance of keeping software up to date, several major software companies, including Microsoft and Symantec, participated in an initiative called International Technology Upgrade Week earlier this summer.

Upgrades have been hotly debated of late: Several weeks ago, Jono Xia, a former Mozilla employee, blasted updates in general, and those for Firefox specifically, as productivity sinkholes. Xia called on developers to think about the concerns of users who have to deal with the inconvenience of working with software that's constantly changing.

"A tool isn't very useful if the way you used it yesterday suddenly doesn't work tomorrow," Xia said.

Symantec, Tom Tom and Skype -- acquired by Microsoft last year -- were among the vendors touting upgrade week. They might face an uphill battle in trying to change users' minds about upgrades.

In a Skype survey, 25% of the respondents said they decline updates because they see no benefit in them, and 26% said they don't understand what the upgrades are meant to accomplish.

Four of 10 adults said they don't upgrade software when first prompted. And of the 75% who said they receive upgrade prompts, half said they don't install new code until they see an alert three to five times.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

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