Australian organizations keen to explore Vista alternatives

Gartner says no real competitive advantage in making the upgrade

Analyst firm Gartner has expressed surprise at the number of Australian organizations reluctant to upgrade to Vista and Office 2007 without exploring alternatives.

According to the results of an online Computerworld poll, a mere four percent plan to upgrade this year, while 77 percent plan to explore alternative solutions before making their move.

Gartner research director, Martin Gilliland, said the results are unexpected.

"I'm surprised that so many think there is an alternative," he said adding that the only options are Mac, Linux or skipping Vista altogether.

"Now, they're all viable options to a certain extent, but not to three quarters of the market."

Gilliland said in Gartner's experience most Australian organisations are planning to start the Vista migration next year.

But the rollout will take time. "Very few organizations will get it done in one big hit, because it's extremely expensive to do it that way," Gilliland said.

"More and more organizations are doing it as their old PCs need replacing."

Gilliland said he expects the Vista migration to take most organisations three or four years - half this time if organisations decide to upgrade their Vista-ready PCs early.

But, Gilliland warned organization going to Vista, should be testing now.

"If they're not, they are way behind," he added.

While driver and software support issues are being fixed promptly, there's no real benefit to upgrading to Vista early.

"There's not much about Vista that gives anybody a competitive advantage," he said.

The fact that Windows 2000 is reaching the end of its support cycle and XP users now have to pay for support will help accelerate the upgrade process, Gilliland said.

Conversely, Gilliland doesn't expect to see Office 2007 achieve market dominance anytime soon.

"The features, functionality and usability [of Office 2007] are all good, but most organizations will struggle to justify the cost of moving off a product that already works," he said.

Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, has remained optimistic about Vista adoption even predicting takeup would be five times faster than Windows 95 and twice as fast as Windows XP.

And Microsoft is doing everything in its power to ensure this happens. According to the Advertising Age, Microsoft will spend $US500million in 20 countries to market Vista this year.

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Dylan Bushell-Embling

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