The echo chamber misreads another Windows 7 survey

The echo chamber misreads another Windows 7 survey

Summary: A new survey of Windows 7 adoption plans released today confirms the results of surveys taken earlier this year: Even in the midst of a horrible global recession, businesses are on track to adopt Windows 7 at extraordinarily high rates. So why is the technical press reporting a completely different story?


Earlier today, ScriptLogic, a software developer that specializes in Windows management software, published the results of a Windows 7 adoption survey they conducted recently. A  summary of the survey data, from 1100 IT pros, is available for download from ScriptLogic here (PDF). The summary includes no analysis. Apparently, ScriptLogic assumed that anyone reading this handout would be able to interpret the survey results correctly.

Ha ha ha.

ScriptLogic did provide a brief introduction and analysis on the download page for the report. Here is the entire two-paragraph introduction, which a literate adult can read in probably 30 seconds. It might take a minute or two if you move your lips while reading. Go ahead, I’ll wait:

The primary goal of this survey was to assess the impact of the weak economy on IT infrastructure projects and we found that, despite its impact on short-term plans, 41% of organizations [emphasis in original] plan a wholesale migration to Windows 7 by the end of 2010. This is actually a strong adoption rate when compared to the historical adoption rate of Windows XP in its first year which was cited as 12-14%. [emphasis added]

Furthermore, in ScriptLogic’s primary market segment it is usual for businesses to upgrade operating systems piecemeal as they purchase new desktop hardware, so the fact that nearly half of organizations surveyed are planning major rollouts during 2009-2010 indicates a high acceptance of Windows 7 among small and medium businesses. [emphasis added]

Seems pretty clear, right? "Wholesale migration" by more than 40% of businesses in just over a year. My first reaction when I read that was "Holy crap, that's a big number!"

In fact, this new survey confirms the results of two other surveys taken earlier this year by different organizations, which I wrote about on April 16 (see Will Windows 7 be Microsoft's biggest business hit ever?). That 41% adoption rate, roughly 14 months after Windows 7 goes on sale, plots almost perfectly onto the graph I created for that post and have reprinted here. The blue line is projected Windows 7 adoption rates over the next three years, the orange line is actual Windows XP adoption over an equivalent amount of time:

Given this data, one would think the technical press would be reporting the obvious conclusion to be drawn from this survey: Even in the midst of the worst worldwide recession in recent memory, Windows 7 is shaping up to be one of Microsoft’s biggest success stories ever. Right?

Again: ha ha ha.

Here is a depressingly representative sampling of the actual headlines I read on Google News today:


Out of all those reports, only John Paczkowski of All Things Digital grudgingly noted that this is “a high level of adoption for a new OS, especially in the current economic climate.” In the final graf, after saying Windows 7 will be “ignored” because of “hesitation” by “gun-shy” IT pros.

Yes, it’s a high level of adoption, but not high enough, I guess. For today’s jaded technical press and pundits, anything less than 100% adoption, overnight, is a colossal failure. Which is kind of like saying that this year’s Star Trek was a flop because 268 million Americans didn’t go see it.

Meanwhile, in yesterday’s news (literally), PC World summarized a new report by IDC analyst Al Gillen, which predicts that Windows 7 will account for 75% of units shipped in 2011 and will achieve total world domination within three years:

Windows 7 momentum will translate in 2013 to the new OS accounting for 95% of the operating systems Microsoft sells to businesses. That percentage is up from 90% forecast for 2012.

What, not 100%? Losers.

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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  • Great post, Ed!

    I've seen most of those "stories" or at least those headlines on places like CNET and Computerworld. As we've seen with Vista, it's pretty amazing what the tech/journalism industry can do when they try to control perception this way. It's dishonest and disingenuous. Thanks for always telling the whole story, Ed!
    • This would have been a better post.

      You'd definitely get a lot more hits had you'd gone with this story


      I know now ZDNET is under the explicit directions of Microsoft. As for
      the other websites being biased, how can it be when they are
      exposing everything.

      It's a shame that ZDNET is just as bad as Microsoft when it comes to
      • Did you read the actual security bulletin?

        It affects Office XP and Office 2003, programs that are 6 and 7 years old, respectively. The current version of Office is not affected, nor are any Office viewers, nor is any Windows version.

        So tell me why it's so important and why it's relevant to this post?
        Ed Bott
        • Because a lot of people and businesses still use those products

          There is little reason to upgrade when the upgrades give you little in value, plus require retraining due to the new ribbon which relocates everything from where they have traditionally been.

          The down side of not upgrading, of course, is the security issues we are seeing. But given the choice of risking a *possible* security issue and risking *certain* training and compatibility issues, most businesses chose the former.
          Michael Kelly
          • Can you spell oxymoron?

            You should look it up if you don't already know what it means. Here - I'll even do it for you - hit this link:

            Okay, so you state that there is little reason for customers running older product to upgrade to newer products. And yet, you write this in response to a discussion about how only people using 6+ year-old products will be affected by a security bug.


            One of the biggest reasons one should keep up to date with new product releases is that products shipped > 5+ years ago were engineered well before today's state of the art hackery was in abundance. Many older products are not even supported any longer and therefore are unlikely to be patched to fix newly discovered security issues.

            Had those companies NOT been responsible and upgraded to (at least) a newer, supported version of said product, they wouldn't have been affected by this particular issue.

            If a new issue in their currently-supported product is discovered, however, then the vendor should fix it (such is the nature of supported products).
          • Interesting when you think about it...

            You sell me a product with security flaws and I have to pay large sums of money to upgrade and get the fix. Its a great business model but not so great for the customer. I'd avoid that trap.
          • Obviously the security flaws were not so obvious

            if it took so many years before anyone found them!

            Bugs are one thing, though. The other thing about older software is that there was not the expectation that it would be exploited with so much gusto almost a decade down the track.

            Later products are going to naturally incorporate the learning of the previous years, especially in regard to being resiliant to attack. Generally, older software can never be made to have the attack proofing without being re-engineered - into a new version, of course.
          • The last I checked

            Office 2003 was still supported (edit: it has extended support, which means security patches are still made). And FYI we're not talking about 5+ years ago. 2 1/2 years ago it was the most current release. So by your standards if someone bought a product 2 1/2 years ago they should not expect support.
            Michael Kelly
          • Check again

            This flaw also affects Office 2000 has been in extended support since July 1st 2004 and expires ... TODAY!

            Office XP has been in extended support (for which you have to pay per incident and may have to pay for patches) since July 12th 2006 and expires on July 12, 2011.

            Office 2007, the current release, is in mainstream support until 4/10/2012 when it enters extended support which eventually expires on 4/11/2017. So, no, if you're on Office 2007, you're supported and have a while before you have to really consider upgrading. Of course, Office 2010 will be out next year and there's an overlap for you, like most other Microsoft customers, to plan and execute a pretty seamless and simple upgrade to the new version.
          • They are getting support

            The new product was developed using SDL. Office 2003 was not.

            Microsoft is fully supporting Office 2003. They've offered a security bulletin, a one-click Fix It workaround, and a patch that could very well appear out of band.

            Of course Office 2003 customers should expect support.

            And I repeat, what does this have to do with the topic of this post? Nothing. The original post was a silly attempt to change the subject.
            Ed Bott
          • Ed, I agree this has gone far off topic

            The reason I responded is because you asked in reply to the original off-topic response why the security bulletin was so important to talk about. I was just stating why I thought it was an important subject to talk about (people who bought Office new less than 3 years ago are affected). I agree that this fact has nothing to do with your original piece.
            Michael Kelly
          • Clearly...

            People don't believe in being "responsible" and paying more for newer stuff.
          • That is why the Macintosh has never taken hold.

            But in reality, businesses buy software and hardware together more times than not, and either way it's a capital expendeture that can be written off over time. If your hardware comes with software, you can expense both off together over a period of time. Or you can split out the cost of the software and normally can expense it out over 3 years. The generally accepted accounting rules have determined that software is only relevant for 3 years I guess. <br>
            In any case, software is essential to almost every business in existence today. Healthcare organizations don't keep using the same monitoring and imaging equipment just because of the cost. It's essential to their business because newer technology draws and keeps more customers. <br>
            Anything that can help streamline processes and save money through productivity enhancement, thereby lowering cost can also be shown obviously as an ASSET. That means it PRODUCES revenue. The better the software system, the better the results, the better the payout.

            That coupled with depreciation write offs and the ability to write down the cost of analyzing and producing inhouse software in the year the expense was incurred, or over time, it is easy for ANYONE to see that IT is very essential and just part of a company's assets. <br>
            With Microsoft, you pay once up front and don't pay again until well past depreciation and payback has occurred. Every windows shop that uses their software wisely comes out ahead in the long term. The cost is offset by the write-offs, reduction in production costs and reduction in development costs, which increasingly allow for richer and better inhouse code to be easily created, many times w/o the need for a developer to sit down and write a bunch of procedural code. Designers can write most of a GUI using WPF, for example, with declarative code.
            Also, the increased capabilities lead to the ability to fine tune Business intelligence and get the information needed to everyone, when htey need it, thereby increasing revenues in any number of ways given the organization you are speaking of. <br>
            In healthcare it would mean a better chance at getting more payments from insurance in more more timely manner reducing AR days and increasing actual reimbursement. Anyone that knows anything about billing in an acute care hospital environment knows hte complexity of the coding and billing process and how it's easy to miss or lose reimbursement due to very small mistakes or even just not having information in a timely manner. <br>
            Thank you for letting me express my views. <br>
            Microsoft still is by far the most integrated and easily maintained system on the face of the earth. This is known by everyone, just some don't like the idea of that fact. Until that can be rivaled, Microsoft software is most often the best choice for the majority of your computing needs. Not to say others are not making progress, but also it's essential to point out that businesses don't have to dig into their piggy banks and buy software and then just write it up as 100% expense, end of our Linux and OS X heroes woudl try to have you believe.
            It's almost always an investment that will pay back beyond the amount of the original investment. <br>
            Thank you.
          • to xunil_Z

            If a large corporation has to get 50,000 W7 licenses,
            that's a 5 to 10 million dollars expenditure. What
            exactly is the business case? You talk about more
            accurate billing... How is that related to W7? Billing
            systems are applications which run on top of the OS. I
            could see a business case for buying a better billing
            system, but not a new version of Windows. This is

            Capital expenditures are written off because you can
            deduct them from earnings, so you pay less tax. This
            doesn't mean they are free. A company is better off
            not making those expenditures in the first place than
            writing them off...

          • @ prof123

            any company with 50k in Windows licenses has a volume license agreement, they pay the same regardless of what version of windows the client is running.
        • Because over 60% of...

          People out there are using XP or earlier. That's why it's important.
      • Who's directions do you march to?

        As it is quite obvious (even to the most inexperienced of readers) that you are under the explicit directions of one of Microsoft's competitors to post, and repost, that line of drivel here on these forums.

        Do you move from site to site posting such things, or do your employers have a few people on payroll, with different sites assigned to you and your coworkers?
    • I agree... should surprise me that so many 'journalists' have either been suckered into printing a misrepresented article, copied their peers or are pushing their own rather tragic agendas but it doesn't. I think that says more about the current blogosphere than anything else.

      Also, I see the peanut gallery have chimed in with their two weapons of choice - irrelevance and obfuscation. Again, no surprise there.
      Sleeper Service
  • Excellent article, Ed!

    Thanks for the great article! Just shows how biased many news sources there are on the 'net!
  • This is a great example of how statistics can be used to push an agenda

    Take some data, add a little editorializing, and you have yourself some FUD.