ATO, Immigration downplay Win7 plans

Two of Australia's largest federal government departments, the Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, have revealed they are not yet seriously examining Microsoft's incoming Windows 7 operating system.

Two of Australia's largest federal government departments, the Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, have revealed they are not yet seriously examining Microsoft's incoming Windows 7 operating system.

We haven't tested it yet but it is being considered

DIAC spokesperson

Like the overwhelming majority of large Australian organisations, both departments currently use Windows XP as their desktop platform. The ATO has more than 30,000 desktops. Although the size of DIAC's fleet is unclear, it would be likely to have a sizeable fleet as it has more than 8000 staff. "We haven't tested it yet but it is being considered," said a spokesperson for DIAC.

They added the department was currently putting together a broader ICT strategic plan that would consider, among other issues, a future move to a new Windows platform. "We'll move only if it benefits the department," the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for the ATO said the agency had not yet started planning a Windows 7 move and had no further comment.

The news comes as Australia's largest organisations have started to express their views on Microsoft's incoming operating system. It is widely expected to be released in the second half of 2009, although the software maker has not yet set a launch date for the software.

The University of Technology Sydney today said it believed it would move to Windows 7 eventually so it didn't get too many releases behind, but it would skip the much-maligned Windows Vista. Welfare agency Centrelink has praised the early versions of Windows 7, saying they showed a jump in quality over Vista, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia has examined the software but is yet to formally test it.

However, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, which is one of the only large Australian organisations to have rolled out Vista, said it had no plans to upgrade to Windows 7, as the priority following the Vista roll-out was to settle into its implementation and realise its benefits. The Department of Defence too, has no immediate plans.