Windows 7 Channel Opportunity-Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

A recent ScriptLogic survey reported that 60% of IT professionals have “no current plans to deploy Windows 7”.  Of those who plan to deploy it, 5.4% said they would do it by end of 2009 and 34% by the end of 2010. This sounds like unfavorable news, but is it really?


Globally, corporations may not be ready to upgrade now, but almost 40% of those surveyed said they’d do it by end of 2010 and most haven’t even seen the final released version yet.  That’s a pretty good indicator the early betas and trials were effective in creating positive feedback in the IT community. And ScriptLogic further pointed out, this is actually a stronger adoption rate than the 12-14% rate for XP in its first year.


Partners are critical to driving and sustaining Microsoft (NasdaqGS:MSFT) Windows 7 upgrades.  During Bill Veghte’s (Sr. VP of the Windows Business Group) WPC09 keynote, a large number of partners indicated they were working with Windows 7. Microsoft has over 600,000 partners, and they produce 95% of company revenue.  If all 600,000 of them were to “get on the latest release” as Kevin Turner, Microsoft COO, exhorted, that would create quite a bit of momentum in and of itself.  In fact, once Windows 7 becomes the channel standard, more corporations will become familiar with it, and take a serious look at it. 


The 40% plan-to-adopt figure doesn’t surprise some IT veterans: "What right minded IT decision maker is going to disrupt a working technology infrastructure just because there is a new OS available? " "Feature sets and costs drive upgrades." So, there’s some selling to do, both for Microsoft to its partners and for Microsoft's partners to their customers.  Even if they only capture the 177M unit sales IDC has forecast by the end of 2010, it’s still a big opportunity. 


So, is the glass half full or half empty? Half empty if the channel expects a big revenue pop from Windows 7 in 2009. But half full if the predictions for 2010 come true.



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