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Windows 7 is shaping up to become the first version of Windows that will see widespread deployment before the customary reassurances of a first service pack.

According to a new survey, more than half of all Microsoft shops have decided to move to Windows 7 - either because they think the new OS is already stable enough for the move or because they're acting on a pent-up desire to get the features they missed out on by avoiding Windows Vista.

Preliminary results from a survey of 923 Windows users by desktop management specialist Kace Networks show that 42 per cent will move to Windows 7 during 2010, while 43 per cent won't wait until Microsoft delivers SP 1, which is expected this summer. Kace polled large and small companies. Eighty per cent are in the US.

The majority of organizations are already getting hands-on time with Windows 7, after deploying it to test machines or purchasing new hardware running the OS.

Wynn White, Kace vice president of world-wide marketing, told The Reg that his company hadn't seen this level of interest in a new release of Windows during the last decade.

The first SP for a Microsoft operating system generally updates security and solves performance problems or other bugs that came to light during the first few months of the operating system's life in the field. In the past, mega analyst Gartner has advised Microsoft's business customers not to upgrade to new versions of Windows until the first SP is delivered.

"Bypassing SP1 for Windows 7 is a big deal," White said. "There is a lot of pent up demand for a new Windows operating system since so many organizations bypassed Vista.

"Most of them are running a nine-year-old operating system that lacks major rudimentary security controls. They have known for some time they've needed to upgrade, but there was no way they were going to make that move with Vista.

"Windows 7 has significantly upgraded security, power management, and some performance enhancements, but most importantly it has the confidence of users and administrators who view it as solid and what they've been waiting for that Vista couldn't deliver."

Early results from Kace's poll, due to be released next month, also indicate that more businesses would be willing to consider Mac if they were to switch to a non-Windows platform. Thirty-two per cent said they'd pick Mac, up from 27 per cent when Kace last conducted the poll.

Based on these numbers, Kace predicted OS X will double its current market share by the end of 2010. Mac OS X has 5.11 per cent of the operating-system market according to Net Applications. Meanwhile, IDC said last week that Apple scored eight per cent of the market for all PCs shipped in 2009, up from 7.9 per cent.

Kace cited unhappiness with Windows Vista and growing popularity of Apple products in the home for organizations' increasing willingness to use Macs at work. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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