Will Vista in the Enterprise Ever Take Off?

Microsoft’s retiring co-founder Bill Gates has been talking up Windows Vista
this week. Specifically, he’s been touting the company’s claims that it has now
sold 140 million Vista licenses since it first shipped on January 30, 2007.

In fact, the number is not new. Company executives have bandied it around
lately, most recently during Microsoft’s third fiscal quarterly earnings call
with financial analysts on April

Microsoft declines to break out that figure, although much of it could be
attributed to sales of new PCs at retail. It also does not break out overall
sales of operating systems between legacy Windows XP and Vista sales.

However, sales of Windows clients were basically flat in its most
recent quarter
, which ended on March 31, and some observers suggested that
slow sales of higher-profit Vista to corporations might be one issue dragging
earnings down.

That said, Vista sales are not doing so badly.

“As a percentage of the professional installed base, Vista is in a more
advanced position than XP was at the same point ‘of its lifecycle’,” George
Shiffler, a director of research at Gartner who compiled the data in the report,
told InternetNews.com.

To date, however, much of the displacement of older operating systems that
has taken place inside corporate customers’ firewalls has been Vista replacing
Windows 2000, Shiffler said.

On a global basis, projected use of Windows 2000 fell from 15 percent of the
installed base in 2007 to eight percent in 2008, and Gartner predicts it will
fall to only four percent in 2009, according to summary data from the

At the same time, XP Professional usage fell from 71 percent in 2007 to an
expected 63 percent this year, and will fall to 47 percent next year. Meanwhile,
Vista adoption is slowly picking up steam, partly because Microsoft shipped
Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) last

The Gartner report has Vista usage rising from 4 percent last year to 19
percent in 2008, and then doubling to 39 percent in 2009 as corporate
deployments kick into gear.

What is happening is that many corporations have been waiting to test the
final of SP1 before planning to roll out Vista company wide, thus pushing the
typical adoption process back by a few months. “Many large enterprises have
kicked out their deployments a bit out into 2009,” Shiffler said.

In the meantime, IDC sees Vista taking off this year in its own analysis.

“‘Adoption in’ 2007 was pretty much what we expected ‘because’ we did not
expect Vista to just tear off ‘out of the gate’,” Al Gillen, research vice
president for system software at IDC, told InternetNews.com. “We expect
‘corporations’ will adopt Vista the same way they did XP ‘and’ I think the
transition is really going to start this calendar year,” he added.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to discuss the numbers but said that Vista
is being adopted by businesses at a rate that is similar to past Windows

“In the business market there are early, mainstream, and late adopters, with
the majority of businesses falling into the category of mainstream. We’re seeing
positive indicators that we’re already starting to move from the early adoption
phase into the mainstream,” the spokesperson told InternetNews.com in an
e-mailed statement.

One issue that has slowed adoption so far is lack of compatibility with many
enterprises’ mission-critical applications. For instance, versions of Office
earlier than Office 2003 have incompatibilities with Vista – unfortunately
for Gillen, since he’s using Office 2000 with a bunch of custom scripts that
were written in Visual Basic for Applications. That might be easily solved for a
single user but not for department after department.

However, skipping Vista in order to wait for Windows 7, which is due out in 2010, is
not a good idea, Gillen said.

“It’s two years away ‘plus a new evaluation period and deployment planning’
so we’re talking about a three year window for Windows 7 ‘and’ I’m not sure
customers will wait around that long,” Gillen added.

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com

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