SMBs grasp Vista nettle

US reseller urges 'case-by-case' approach

Windows Vista appears to be gaining ground among organisations, with small businesses (SMBs) proving particularly keen to adopt the software giant's latest operating system, according to a new report.

US reseller CDW Corp tracked Vista adoption from 31 October to 7 November 2007 and found that 53 per cent of those firms that had tested or implemented the OS were SMBs.

Of course, one explanation for the sudden spike in popularity among SMBs could be that they are less likely to have IT departments that will test and advise on products. They are also more likely to buy on an ad hoc basis, from the likes of Dell or CompUSA, and will use whatever is supplied on the machine.

Still, CDW said the overall number of organisations willing to grasp the nettle had increased from a sluggish 29 per cent in February 2007 to 48 per cent by early November, a year on from the OS' business release.

Higher education bodies also proved to be eager to take-up Vista. That group notched up a figure of 49 per cent to have either evaluated or already installed the OS.

CDW said 48 per cent of larger firms were also in the process of grappling with Redmond's latest offering.

The reseller said the survey, which was taken by 772 IT bosses, also revealed that confidence in Vista's capabilities had improved with nearly half scoring it "above expectations" particularly on security, performance, productivity, search, and updates.

However, more than a quarter of respondents (27 per cent) said they remained sceptical about hardware compatibility with the OS. And perhaps unsurprisingly, in among the healthy figures, CDW urged businesses to take a cautious "case-by-case" approach to Vista.

"There are still definitely concerns when you get into custom applications in industries that will run on XP," CDW product director David Cottingham said. "If [companies] have custom applications that don't run on Vista yet, they're going to stay on XP."

Redmond had intended to stop selling XP at the end of this month, but customer grumbles about Vista bugs and hardware issues led to Microsoft having to back down and extend the OS's lifespan to 30 June 2008 to ease frustrations.

And while many Vista users are waiting for SP1 to finally arrive, there's always the latest beta version of it available now for the mad brave among you to get your mitts on.

As for Microsoft's Office 2007, CDW reckoned there had been a "substantial" increase in organisations upgrading from previous versions, with nearly a quarter saying they had adopted the latest software – up 18 per cent on February's figures.

CDW, which punts a number of top name tech products including Microsoft's offerings to businesses, government, and education bodies in the US, used information collected by Walker Information Inc in what it described as the final phase of a year long study into the market impact of Vista. ®

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