I should have written this article about a year ago to give to someone that cares the time to plan ahead. Frankly, I don't care much. If you have a business and you are technologically impaired it's your fault.
Computers are not an unnecessary "shit that I have to buy, just don't spend much". They are your records, data center, analysis tools and your professional image all in one box.
When you've installed or bought computers with Windows XP you did the right thing. They were the best you could find, a value for money deal like no any other. The main reason for that was the Microsoft monopoly. Linux distributions were good but you couldn't find the tools you needed easily, and Apple oh Apple. . .
But in 2014 things are different. You can have a free office solution that may lack the User Interface eye candy of Microsoft's but it does the job and guess what: it's free. Also you have a large range of free Linux based Operating Systems you can use. People tend to agree that Ubuntu or Linux Mint are the most user friendly ones.
But if you feel that open source and free software is "insecure and vulnerable and Jesus everyone can see the code, is that even safe?" you can buy from Red Hat and have the support you used to have with Microsoft. Which in fact you didn't have, but this time it will be a real thing.
So before upgrading to Windows 7 or 8 (Jesus are you thinking "what about Vista?" now?) or buying new machines, think about spending a fifth of that money to install a free operating system (which is also safer) and train your employees to use them. If they can't learn it, fire them and get new ones.
So what are the benefits of Linux based Operating Systems?
Remember when you needed to update manually Firefox, Google chrome and a bunch of other applications that weren't Microsoft's? Well, no more. Every application (assuming you've installed them correctly which requires an IQ roughly above the 20's) gets updated automatically along with the system updates. And guess what: If you screw up or something breaks, you can roll back (again, if you have the IQ index mentioned before).
"But why do I need to keep updating?". Well that's the reason you are switching from XP to something else right? Anyway, most of your employees play solitaire or they are on Facebook. So get them something that's free and actually works.