Is Vista Still a Flop With IT?
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This time the cycle appears to be tardy.
To be fair, SP1 has only been available for just short of four months, so it's hard to determine trends. Still, SP1 didn't cause any sudden jump in adoption either, according to an April report from IDC.
"Microsoft's release of Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista during the past quarter is expected to eventually raise the desire for businesses to deploy new PCs using Vista, but the impact in 1Q 08 was very slight," IDC said.
So what's still holding Vista back? For many IT shops, it just offers too little for the increased hardware requirements and loss of some application compatibility, leading to increasing costs at a time when budgets are being squeezed like a toothpaste tube, according to one technology consultant.
"Most corporations are not really eager to jump into Vista [because of] the inertia problem," Ajit Kapoor, principal and managing director of The Kapoor Group, a global consultancy for aligning business with IT expenses, told InternetNews.com.
Aero Glass interface isn't enough
What he means is that Vista, even with SP1, is not compelling enough to trigger full-scale upgrades in many large shops. XP is very stable by this point, plus it is very secure so Microsoft's pitch that Vista is more secure is not a large driver for IT. That leaves the Aero Glass user interface and other graphics features to drive adoption, or not.
"Aero Glass is fun but it doesn't increase productivity," Kapoor added. Before starting his own consultancy, he was chief architect for the CTOs office at Lockheed Martin, and held similar positions at Allied Signal and General Motors.
What about waiting for Windows 7?
"That's also a consideration," Kapoor said. "[Some large clients] are waiting to see what Windows 7 does, but it's not with any urgency," he added.
"They'll wait for the older XP machines to die and bring in new PCs with Vista [to replace them], but I think a lot of them will also wait for Windows 7," Bajarin added.
Many observers warn, however, that waiting for Windows 7 may not be a smart move. Windows 7 the codename for the next major release of Windows is currently scheduled to hit the streets in late 2009 or early 2010. Of course, when Windows 7 is released, corporate shops will have to go through the whole testing and deployment process, so actual deployments could be delayed again.
Meantime, several leading analyst firms are predicting another record-breaking year for sales of new PCs. For example, earlier this month, Gartner pegged sales worldwide at 297 million this year, a 12.5 percent jump from last year.
Research firm IDC echoed Gartner, but was even more aggressive. IDC analysts predict sales of 310 million PCs this year a 15 percent increase over 2007.
"Keep in mind that we're still shipping 300 million new PCs this year and the bulk of those are Windows Vista machines," Bajarin said.
In fact, Gartner reported in May that Vista is actually making headway inside some corporations partly replacing aging Windows 2000 deployments but also slowly eating away at XP Professional numbers as well.
According to Gartner's report, XP Professional usage fell from 71 percent in 2007 to an expected 63 percent this year, and will fall to 47 percent next year. Meanwhile, Vista adoption is slowly picking up steam, partly because Microsoft shipped Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) last quarter. So a trend appears to be emerging.
The Gartner report has Vista usage rising from 4 percent last year to 19 percent in 2008, and then doubling to 39 percent in 2009 as corporate deployments kick into gear.
"As a percentage of the professional installed base, Vista is in a more advanced position than XP was at the same point [of its lifecycle]," George Shiffler, a director of research at Gartner who compiled the data in the report, told InternetNews.com back in May.
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