Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Windows 7 buzz may stall Vista

The positive buzz for Windows 7 is creating an interesting challenge for Microsoft: It appears to be making it tougher to get businesses to move to Windows Vista.

And it's not like there has been a mad rush on that front to begin with.

Gartner did a survey in October that found about 30 percent of large businesses were likely to skip Vista and a significant number of other companies still hadn't decided what to do.

Plaudits for Windows 7, combined with a weakening economy, could mean that as many as half of businesses decide to skip Vista entirely, according to Gartner analyst Michael Silver.

"Anyone who was on the fence... is now pretty much likely to skip," Silver said Wednesday.

That's made things rough for those inside Microsoft whose job it is to advise businesses on their Windows upgrades. Microsoft isn't necessarily trying to discourage businesses from going from XP to 7 (an upgrade is an upgrade after all). But, the company is offering a couple of warnings.

"They are incredibly excited (about Windows 7)," says Gavriella Schuster, a senior director in the Windows unit. "We're just trying to temper they are very realistic."

Although Windows 7 is getting strong early marks, it isn't a panacea for all of Vista's pain, Schuster said. Businesses have to work through the same application compatibility issues to go from XP to Windows 7 as they would to move from XP to Vista. Although Windows 7 is designed to be highly compatible with Windows Vista, all of the things that have made going from XP to Vista a challenge for businesses are also present when going from XP to Windows 7.


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