Better the Windows Vista devil you know than the Windows 7 one you don't?

Better the Windows Vista devil you know than the Windows 7 one you don't?

Summary: Forrester Research is advising its clients against skipping Windows Vista when planning their operating system deployments. But one of the reasons Forrester is using -- because Vista's successor, Windows 7, will no doubt will be late -- is not a good assumption, in my book.

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Forrester Research is advising its clients against skipping Windows Vista when planning their operating system deployments. But one of the reasons Forrester is using -- because Vista's successor, Windows 7, will no doubt will be late -- is not a good assumption, in my book.

As crazy as this sounds, I don't think I'd count on Windows 7 being late -- even though Microsoft's track record for on-time Windows deliveries is abysmal. The primary reason: Steven Sinofsky. Sinofsky is the head of Windows and Windows Live Engineering. He used to run Office development. One of Sinofsky's biggest claims to fame is making the trains run on time.

Couple Sinofsky's track record with the fact that Windows 7 will likely be a minor upgrade to Vista, plus the fact that the Softies gave themselves quite a bit of extra breathing room with the 2010 due date, and I'd say it's more likely Windows 7 will ship early than late.

Forrester's guidance was part of a pair of Vista-related studies the market-research outfit released on April 16. (Neither of these was based on a survey of a set group of customers; both were "anecdotal, based on discussions Forrester has had with its clients about their plans," a company representative noted.)

In "Lessons Learned From Early Adopters Of Windows Vista: How Businesses Can Overcome The Most Common Migration Challenges," Forrester Researcher Benjamin Gray offers business users a checklist to help with Vista migrations. On the shortlist are a number of common-sense tips, including "Tie the OS upgrade to your natural PC refresh cycle to ensure hardware compatibility" and "Stay on top of your independent software vendors to ensure application compatibility."

In the other report, "Building The Business Case For Windows Vista: Five Reasons to Start Your Migration Soon," Gray advises business users against waiting for Windows 7 and expecting to jump from an older Windows release directly to Windows 7, which Microsoft has said it will ship in 2010.

Forrester claims that "for large businesses, there’s no viable alternative" to moving to Vista. "According to our latest hardware survey, Microsoft operating systems are powering 99% of North American and European enterprise PCs and 97% of small to medium-size business (SMB) PCs," Gray said. Gray decribed Mac OSX and Linux as alternatives for specific niches only.

Gray said the availability of Vista SP1, plus Microsoft's decision to phase out XP on the bulk of new PCs, as of July 1, also were good reasons companies should plan on moing to Vista. Windows 7 is largely an unknown, at this point, Gray argued:

"To be blunt, customers know very little about Windows 7. Besides when it’s slated to become available, they know that it’s going to be a full release. Meaning? It’s going to have a business version and a consumer version — and knowing Microsoft, multiple versions of each. It’s also going to support both 32- and 64-bit computing. Beyond these tidbits, everything else is pure rumor and speculation. But it’s important to keep in mind that Microsoft doesn’t exactly have a clean track record for delivering products on time. It also tends to strip out promised features in order to hit deadlines (e.g., WinFS from Windows Vista). Ironically, one of Microsoft’s biggest weaknesses — the unpredictable release schedule of its desktop operating systems — will likely spur adoption of Windows Vista as a result of this lack of faith in Microsoft delivering Windows 7 on time."

There's no question that most customers have next-to-no real information on Windows 7. But do you agree with Forrester that the devil you know (Vista) is better than the one you don't (Windows 7)?

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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140 comments
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  • Doesn't matter really

    The Windows train just keeps on rolling.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • Message has been deleted.

      itanalyst2
      • Competition

        I don't know who hate Microsoft the most: You, DonnieBoy, or Frothy....Sometimes, it is good to actually read the article before coming out with one of your predictable rants.
        1g2j
        • Competition?

          The word no one at Microsoft dares speak in the presence of Steve or Bill. Microsoft deserves to be admonished for the way they do business (past and present), and when they produce inferior software. This just happens a lot more than most NBM's care to admit.
          Hemlock Stones
          • ?

            Answer this, Is bet you typing your response from an MSFT made OS? If you is do not waste your time and type an response.
            1g2j
        • Possibly me ...

          because I will be feeling precisely ZERO sorrow at layoffs or share price crashes at MS. It's an artificial market that's been destroying progress for a long long time.

          Funny thing this "Windows Defending" thing : people who claim to be technologists (who are actually just power users/consumers too dumb/lazy to learn more than noddy-OS) are happy that the less well off feed the rich to destroy progress.

          Yeah I know, you don't get it.
          fr0thy2
      • The Train Wreck Has Happened

        Its name is Vista. Microsoft is now in damage-control mode, trying to clean up the environmental damage. It's an uphill battle.

        Hey, have you seen the Microsoft Vista video?
        http://www.youtube.com/v/sPv8PPl7ANU&hl

        Interesting links also at:
        http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9920713-1.html?tag=recentPosts
        http://www.engadget.com/2008/04/17/microsofts-vista-promo-video-just-a-spoof/
        SteveMak
        • Interesting.

          It would take the money of MS to put a video like that together, given its actually fairly good musically and has some decent production values and is a rather reasonable take off on Springsteen.
          Cayble
        • Interesting.

          It would take the money of MS to put a video like that together, given that its actually fairly good musically and has some decent production values and is a rather reasonable take off on Springsteen.

          Its way to well done and positive toward MS to be taking a "shot" at MS, and on the other hand its obviously a little over kill to say the least to be taken too seriously. Obviously its a MS internally created Video to create a little light hearted promotion for the MS inner circle. I would hardly point to that video as any sign of impending doom or train-wreak for MS. When you are making so much money you can afford to produce a video like that for little more then the fun of it, you are long past simply winning the game, you are dominating with authority and have profit to burn.

          An old story goes that in WWII a Nazi sub had sunk a freighter and some of the sub personnel were surprised to see a birthday cake being shipped to an overseas American soldier float to the surface from the hold of the sunken freighter. Several of the German seaman commented that the Allies were never going to win the war if they were wasting space on a freighter with birthday cakes. The wiser submarine commander who understood the implications told his fellow seamen, "Your fools, when the enemy can afford to put birthday cakes on a freighter, it doesn't mean they are going to lose the war, it means they have already won".
          Cayble
          • For the record....

            For the record, my comments about Vista being train wreck have nothing to do with this video. They stand on their own.
            SteveMak
        • MS has sold nearly 100 million licenses of ...

          ... Vista! You may call it a 'train-wreck' but MS and it's OEMs are crying all the way to the bank that a handful of people (most of whom have not even tried to load it onto modern hardware) don't like it.
          M Wagner
          • Careful about what you count...

            Microsoft uses the term "Sold" to also include "Shipped". For example, if an enterprise buys a couple dozen laptops preloaded with Vista, scrubs them, and installs XP Pro (true story), that counts as a couple dozen Vista "sales". It should, because MS made money, even tough the product was chucked in the dust bin.

            No doubt MS is making money. OEMs, like Dell and Gateway, have not noticed a significant demand for Vista. In fact, since Vista's debut, the demand for XP has increased! That's why virually all OEMs have gone back to offering XP pre-loaded on PCs. Talk to OEMs and ask them about all the positive feedback they're getting on brand new "Vista-capable" PCs. Oh yes, everyone is happy ;-)
            SteveMak
          • Via an illegal anti-competitive pre-installation monopoly

            We all know that.
            fr0thy2
          • uuuuuh...

            I'm assuming you're talking about OEM's here, but the thing is, like it or not any of the Linux Distros (despte the growing popularity of Ubuntu) are really main-stream enough for OEM's to pre-install them, and Apple on preloads it's OS's on Macs...so where's the monopoly?
            jebakk
          • correction

            The linux distro's are [i]not[/i] mainstream enough for OEM's to load them
            jebakk
      • Show me the link where is proves Vista is not IPV4 compat

        LULZ....

        you cant, because it doesn't exist. does it...
        pcguy777
    • Depends on your definition of "rolling"

      If one OS release every 3-5 years is Microsoft's definition of "rolling," I'd hate to see them when they're slowed down.
      earful
      • My definition of rolling!

        http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=10
        ShadeTree
        • Two questions:

          Have you noticed that Windows (all versions)
          is slipping?
          Have you noticed that Mac (all versions) is
          growing?

          It appears that moss is beginning to grow on
          the Windows operating system. If they don't
          make a significant improvement soon, that
          share will slip even farther.
          Vulpinemac
          • I can see the Macs market share start slipping in...

            ...the future as switchers realize OS X isn't the panacea of computing they've been led to believe. They'll begin to wonder why they're using two operating systems (OS X and Windows through virtualization/dual boot) when Windows can do it all. They'll also wonder why they should pay more for a computer when it doesn't offer them anything over Windows.

            Apple is a master at selling ordinary as extraordinary. The MacBook Air is a prime example. I finally got to see one the other day. And it was no thinner than my R200 (purchased in 2005). Yet Apple has the world convinced they've done something revolutionary.
            ye