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Reg Reader Research Between the end of September and the beginning of October, Reg Reader Research and Tom's MetaFacts Forum conducted an online study among 597 Forum members, split 69 per cent professional respondents and 31 per cent private respondents. Here's what you have to say about Windows XP - out on October 25.

According to panel members, there is still a long way to go in order to clearly convince potential users to switch to Windows XP. Even with the very high proportion of Windows Office users among respondents, two thirds are not likely to switch their current office product to Office XP in the foreseeable future. The same trend is true on the side of the operating system.

However opinions differentiate significantly among respondents, depending on their professional and private background. (Click here for more info on our categories of respondents)

Early Adopters are most ready to switch and this is especially true for the operating system. This group is followed by Young Potentials, relatively open to the new Windows generation. As opposed to those two groups, established IT managers and corporate executives with higher level of responsibility are less likely to switch to XP.

Overall the IT Experts - in our categorisation this group has the most technical perspective - are least likely to switch. The higher the decision-making level and the higher the technical involvement, the less likely our Panel respondents are to switch. This is true for both Office XP software and the Windows XP operating system.

The XP "switchers" among the respondents, can be described as open minded and interested in innovations, rather strongly influenced by economic and business news (compared to the rest of the respondents, they see a bigger gap to normality in the IT situation due to the US events and they feel more influenced in their purchasing behaviour by the HP- Compaq merger).

Simultaneously, they are rather optimistic when it comes to chances for the future IT market and do believe a little bit stronger in the future of e-business sector.

US respondents are more likely to switch to WinXP than respondents from other countries.

What does this mean for Microsoft?
So should Microsoft be gloomy? We don't think so.

When Windows XP was first announced earlier this year, great optimism was expressed in its ability to kickstart sales in consumer and corporate sectors alike. But gloomy economic conditions are changing this assumption.

It is worth pointing out that the immediate fate of Windows XP in the consumer sector, is intimately tied to sales of PCs. New PCs will come bundled with Windows XP, and old PCs - certainly anything older than a year - will probably require upgrading if they are to operate Windows XP satisfactorily. So this product is not going to fly off retail shelves, in the manner of Windows 95.

In the corporate sector, especially bigger companies with MS enterprise licences, the fate of WinXP is tied to rolling hardware and software upgrade programmes. The corporate sector is usually slower to upgrade to new Microsoft desktop operating software than consumers. But as sure as eggs are eggs, users end up with MS software on their PCs. Windows XP will be no different. ®

What Now

You want to join us for our adventure in market research? Then click here and we'll tell you more.

If you want to talk commercial, Metafact's Hans Schmolke is your man.

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