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White Papers

The Appetite for Windows Vista
A Business Sector Temperature Check
By: Freeform Dynamics
Published: January 2007

KEY FINDINGS

The IT Professional community is lukewarm on Windows Vista
Only 12% of the 4,080 representatives of end-user organisations responding to a recent online survey say they are likely to implement Windows Vista within the first year of its general availability. Memories of relatively recent Windows 2000 or XP migration experiences linger and the following key issues are highlighted as likely barriers to early Vista adoption:

1. Questionable cost / benefit
2. Software and/or hardware compatibility
3. Stability and/or security of early releases

These are ranked in order of frequency of mention within over 2,600 freeform comments gathered during the study, in which respondents expressed themselves freely on migration considerations.

Vista will penetrate smaller businesses faster than larger enterprises
At the lower end of the market, businesses are likely to accept the version of Windows that is delivered with a new PC. Vista can therefore be “pushed” into this space by Microsoft and its partners as part of the normal PC replacement cycle. Larger enterprises are driven much more by company standards, so entry of Vista is dependent on a proactive decision to adopt, i.e. Vista has to be “pulled” into this space on a voluntary basis. The enterprise adoption rate is therefore particularly sensitive to abovementioned concerns and uncertainties.

The theoretical threat from Windows alternatives appears to be overstated
Contrary to popular speculation, very little of the feedback gathered in this study suggests that the prospect of going through another major upgrade will prompt a move to Desktop Linux or Mac/OSX. Linux is mentioned less than 100 times in the 2,600 freeform comments, and only about 30 of these could be regarded as serious indications of intent to consider switching.

CONCLUSION

Windows Vista is currently regarded as just another Windows release within IT professional circles. The assumption by most is that adoption is inevitable, but there is no need to rush. In fact, the logic commonly heard is that the longer you wait, the lower the risk and pain will be. Microsoft must break through this mindset if it wants to accelerate activity. Addressing uncertainties around compatibility, security and stability of early releases is important, but not enough. Against the background of already stretched IT budgets and resources, customers also need more compelling reasons to invest than they currently perceive. To achieve this, the discussion must move beyond TCO to the tangible benefits of Vista as an enabler of the next generation desktop - not just in general terms, but in the context of specific business and user scenarios that are meaningful to customers.

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