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Windows Vista stuck on single digit enterprise adoption

'New Coke' continues to fizzle

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Legacy versions of Windows continue to dominate enterprise computing, with Windows Vista having moved very little in the last half year.

Just over two years since Microsoft launched Windows Vista, fewer than 10 per cent of PCs in the enterprise are running the successor to the company's eight-year-old Windows XP.

That compares to last July when Forrester reportedly said Windows Vista adoption was at 8.8 per cent and Windows XP was at 87.1 per cent. In that report, Forrester said Windows Vista was like "new Coke", which was killed by its corporate parent because nobody like it.

Clearly, little has changed since then, with the analyst shifting its emphasis to say Windows Vista is powering "just fewer than 10 per cent of all PCs within enterprises."

The data points have been taken from a Forrester report that tries to put a positive spin on numbers that clearly show Windows Vista is still struggling for acceptance. Forrester's report, part of an annual hardware survey, is entitled Enterprises Warming To Windows Vista.

Forrester claimed 31 per cent of IT decision-makers said they "have begun their migration" - a broad phrase that can mean many things - to Windows Vista. "Windows Vista is finally shaping out to be the operating system that dethrones Windows XP," Forrester claimed.

Forrester has also stuck with the official party line from Microsoft that Windows Vista's successor - Windows 7 - is not slated for release until 2010. This, Forrester indicates, should provide enough room for continued adoption of Windows Vista.

But word on the street - and an analysis of the Windows 7 development cycle - indicates Windows 7 will be with us in 2009, meaning enterprises have even less reason to adopt Windows Vista.

Microsoft has said there'll be no more Windows 7 betas after the current release, suggesting Windows 7 is effectively completed. If that's the case, Microsoft can't afford to have a completed operating system sitting around until 2010. That would mean lost revenue. Plus, dated features would be overtaken in the market - meaning more lost revenue.

Furthermore, the company will want to benefit from any uplift in sales from the coming 2009 holiday shopping season, especially when you consider the slaughter that was 2008.

Therefore, we can expect Windows 7 PCs in the channel by October, ready to go for November and December. And that means completed copies of Windows 7 will ship to OEMs during the late summer.

And if that's the case, it's hard to see why big businesses would want to standardize their PC platform on Vista - which will be a nearly three-year-old operating system. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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