Looking beyond Windows 7 and Office; Pondering the alternatives

Looking beyond Windows 7 and Office; Pondering the alternatives

Summary: Gartner is telling customers to upgrade to Windows 7 and the latest Office, but adds that it may make sense to at least ponder the alternatives and move toward a more operating system neutral stance.In a talk at the Gartner IT Symposium in Orlando, Gartner analyst Michael Silver rehashed much of what the research firm revealed last week.

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Gartner is telling customers to upgrade to Windows 7 and the latest Office, but adds that it may make sense to at least ponder the alternatives and move toward a more operating system neutral stance.

In a talk at the Gartner IT Symposium in Orlando, Gartner analyst Michael Silver rehashed much of what the research firm revealed last week. See: Gartner: Windows 7 is 'all but inevitable'

However, Silver seemed to advocate that customers at least ponder a more mixed source environment. For instance, an enterprise can have Microsoft Office but use Google Docs or OpenOffice.org as a supplement to lower overall costs. Ditto for operating systems, but the cost equation is a little more difficult. The big elephant in the room: Will operating systems even matter in the future?

Silver notes that most applications in an enterprise will still need Windows well beyond 2011 so the appeal of the Mac OS and Linux have limited appeal. Virtualization is changing that equation somewhat, but the costs can be higher with alternative operating systems when support if factored in. Silver says that Macs will enter the enterprise through the back door, but it's unlikely that a company will standardize on the Mac OS.

The other issue is the question of the operating system's importance. By 2014, 20 percent of users will primarily use a browser-based product as their primary office tool.

Consider:

As for alternative office software, Web-based alternatives aren't going to be mature enough to replace Microsoft Office until 2014. But these alternatives can be a tool to lower costs.

Silver writes:

There have been many organizations that have investigated moving off Microsoft Office, usually to a distribution of OpenOffice.org (including the free download, Sun's StarOffice, Novell Edition and IBM Symphony), but relatively few have actually made the migration. Impediments include switching costs, issues with macros, stationery, databases and mail clients. For better or worse, for the past 15 years, organizations have chosen to overprovision and deploy a product that can do everything the most-advanced user requires to every user for the sake of homogeneity. Organizations that want to deploy OpenOffice.org (OO.o) need to come to terms with the fact that some users will still require MS Office and they will be forced to support a mix of products.

To Gartner, it makes sense to take advantage of viable perpetual licenses for Microsoft Office for as long as possible. The expensive product you already own will be cheaper than the cheap or "free" product you need to spend money to which to migrate.

Topics: Windows, CXO, Collaboration, IT Priorities, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

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  • Looking beyond Windows 7 and Office; Pondering the alternatives

    No reason to look beyond Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft Office, its a complete solution out of the box for every business need. Pondering the alternatives will take all of 5 seconds before realizing the alternatives won't live up to what Microsoft has to offer.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Preceding message brought to you by MSFT marketing department

      Give us some money, fool.
      HollywoodDog
      • do you not

        think that MS has the funds to pay for quality advertising than Loverock? I almost think he could make more money by telling MS he would STOP praising their product so that his name is not associated with it.
        Viva la crank dodo
      • funny...

        Everyone want doesn't want to pay to play.. but wants to put stuff together with people, time, and energy on a platform that is community supported. Why do you think most companies stay with Microsoft? They develop the product, they support it, and it has a lifecycle.

        No free bubble gum scotchtape solution is going to cost less in the long haul especially when you start hammering down the cost to support, integrate, and then redevelop as needs change.
        jessiethe3rd
        • Yeah?

          [i]Why do you think most companies stay with Microsoft? They develop the product, they support it . . .[/i]

          Ever spend the day on hold trying to access Microsoft support? I have.
          sporkfighter
          • Yup so did I...

            Once :(
            awasson1
          • Ahhh...

            Yeah.

            I once volunteered to help out at our community library.

            The librarian looked at me with desperate hope in his eyes, and said "we've got these
            PC's that were donated by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation... you could help out
            by waiting on hold for tech support".


            I said, "how long could that take, anyway ?".

            He said it averaged 4 hours per incidence, (per week, usually).

            So unless you've got an IT department that virtualizes one identical copy of Windows
            onto all your PCs, you MIGHT get stuck waiting on hold quite a bit.


            Which is where virtualization actually makes sense in the Windows world.

            One tested config of software/hardware to troubleshoot rather than sixteen.

            Which is how Apple does it, of course.

            BTW, I just backed away, slowly, and then ran for it. :)
            Jkirk3279
    • Loverock Davidson makes me LOL

      nt
      privatejarhead
    • Ah, but not the most profitable one!!!

      "Silver says that Macs will enter the enterprise through the back door,
      but it?s unlikely that a company will standardize on the Mac OS."

      How does Apple do it? Their machines aren't free. They have the
      highest profit margins in the business. They don't have armies of
      MCSE's to pay for!

      W7 will be another over-priced, too expensive, buggy and insecure
      solution.

      Maybe if people take more than 5 seconds to REALLY think, they'll see
      getting away from W7 will be a prudent business decision.
      mlindl
      • Apple's in a great position...

        Less than 10% of the market, and they can push PC makers around.
        http://www.newsy.com/videos/windows_7_microsoft_heaven
        akorozco
      • MCSE's aren't paid by MS

        Geniuses are, MCSE is just a certification.
        rtk
        • You should know, shill

          You're on the same payroll...

          lol...
          Wintel BSOD
          • Oh, it's far more likely that

            you're on the Microsoft payroll, paid to make Linux users look like raving lunatics.

            You're like a scientologist, one small scratch on the surface and the crazy shines right through.
            rtk
          • Well..

            I don't know about that, but you're dead on about Scientologists.
            Jkirk3279
    • Some Users Don't Need All That Power

      What was that research which showed that most users only use a fraction of Microsoft Office capabilities?
      johnywhy
      • Not really the point

        Uniformity and potentially, coupled with lower volume licencing guide the corporate IT domain.

        It does not matter that they only use some of the capabilities, but it is important that they can potentially handle whatever is published internally. Coupled with lower testing, implementation and support costs, and volume licensing, makes that almost a no-brainer --> done deal!
        Patanjali
    • Analyze the need

      It is wrong to blindly waste an organization's money buying the full Microsoft kit when it is not needed.

      Sure, a lot of professionals make good use of the extensive capabilities of Windows and Office, but I'll wager most employees do not need all that capability. An e-mail client, browser, PDF reader, and some simple text processor, plus the applications for their job (accounting, shipping, inventory control, membership, etc.) are the primary need. If necessary, these primary apps can be supplemented by viewers for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

      If you can skillfully driva a Ferrari, live near roads will exercise a Ferrari's capabilities, and have the money to buy a Ferrari, then by all means get one and enjoy it. Others with different needs and different budgets can find other transportation.
      Dogcatcher
      • 'Horses for courses' not so overhead friendly for corporates

        Volume licensing and simplified administration lowers the cost to the point of eliminating the supposed advantages of what you propose.
        Patanjali
    • Wont live up to..

      "Pondering the alternatives will take all of 5 seconds before realizing the alternatives won't live up to what Microsoft has to offer."

      I agree.

      Who can live up to that cost and proprietary tie in!
      rarsa
    • ZDNet ChatBot Drumming Up The Hits!

      Loverock (ZDNet Staffer);

      Started out quite early to drum up the comments section?
      Lithius