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MS sees Windows 7 leap, but XP workhorse refuses to die

Analyst report says putting OS on Vista diet really helped

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Most Windows 7 customers are satisfied with the new operating system, according to tech analyst house Forrester Research, but many stick-in-the-mud types still see no reason to upgrade from the OS that refuses to die - Windows XP.

Forrester published the results of its study (subscription required) about take-up of Microsoft’s old and new operating systems this week. It found that 86 per cent of 4,559 US punters who took part in the survey were happy with Windows 7.

However, the same research also reaffirmed that there’s still plenty of love out there for Microsoft’s aged Windows XP, with 43 per cent of respondents saying they could see no reason to upgrade to Windows 7.

"The biggest competitor to Windows 7 isn't the Mac," said the report. "It's Windows XP."

That statement will come as little surprise to many people given the continued popularity of the operating system that refuses to die, despite Microsoft’s efforts to shove customers over to Windows 7.

Part of the reason why XP remains so popular is due to Redmond’s disastrous release of Windows Vista to OEMs in 2006, which later hit retail shelves in early 2007.

Microsoft’s failure to get that bloated, application and driver support-shy operating system off the ground meant customers stuck by XP.

In contrast to the Vista snub by businesses, Forrester analyst JP Gownder noted that customers “upgrade behaviour was much stronger for [Windows] 7”. The fact that Vista’s successor offered a “thinner client program” helped that move, he said.

Another factor that buoyed Windows 7's arrival was its ability to run on older hardware kit compared with Vista’s memory-hogging demands from newer machines.

According to the report, around 43 per cent of those surveyed upgraded to Windows 7 on existing computers from an older operating system, while about 45 per cent bought a new PC pre-loaded with Windows 7.

And despite, or perhaps because of, Microsoft’s truly atrocious “I’m a PC” marketing campaign, awareness of Windows 7 among US customers hit around the 90 per cent mark by the end of 2009, according to Forrester’s report. ®

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