Vista uptake looking laggard: analyst

Enterprise adoption below 10 percent in 2007

Sydney-based IT analyst firm Hydrasight has delivered a dim forecast for the adoption rate of Windows Vista, stating businesses will question the value the next-generation of Windows can provide.

Enterprise adoption rate for Vista in Australia will be less than ten per cent during 2007, according to Hydrasight.

The company's research director John Brand said the biggest competitor to the adoption of Vista is "Microsoft and the status quo".

"Previous versions of its own operating systems, as far back as Windows 98 and 2000, dominate the majority of consumer and business PCs - and will continue to do so throughout 2007 and beyond," Brand said, adding most businesses will resist in the short to medium term.

Hydrasight believes resistance will be driven by multiple factors, including costs, productivity, and legacy.

"Rather than reducing the cost of providing desktop and server productivity software, the commitment to embrace Vista will increase technology costs overall - even for small and mid-sized businesses," according to Hydrasight. "It will require an initial spike in investment in hardware upgrades, does not remove the need for third-party tools and applications - including security and hygiene products - and will likely lead to additional ongoing services to unlock value from any new features."

The firm believes the true pain and costs caused by upgrading will not be widely recognized until 2008 to 2009.

On productivity, Hydrasight believes that a business case built on satisfying end-user morale and aiming for increased productivity gains is misguided.

"Any productivity benefits gained will be marginal compared to the overall investment made in upgrading to Vista. Hydrasight also cautions organizations against the presumption that Microsoft Office upgrades will remain independent of Vista," the company said. "Our research indicates Office upgrades are relatively unattractive, even for savvy organizations, as they recognize that personnel are more familiar and productive with existing versions."

Hydrasight claims additional features will only provide "marginal" productivity benefits that will be outweighed by the costs of other product dependencies, migration, administration, support and training. However, functional dependencies on other Microsoft product lines will eventually sway some organizations to co-migrate.

Regarding legacy operating system installations, Hydrasight claims its research shows that a significant portion of Australian SMBs are yet to upgrade to Windows XP, released in 2001.

"The most compelling driver for these organizations will likely be the end-of-support deadlines on currently-deployed Windows systems although organizations resisting vendor-forced upgrading will continue to do so," according to Hydrasight. "Therefore, and given first-year adoption figures for [Windows] XP, Hydrasight expects an overall adoption rate in Australia of less than 10 percent for Vista in 2007."

Hydrasight believes the most likely way Vista will be introduced to businesses will be via the ad-hoc purchase of new desktops and notebooks rather than "fleet" upgrades.

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Rodney Gedda

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