Businesses have 'no appetite for Vista'

Uptake of Microsoft's latest OS is slow due to compatibility issues and a lack of benefits over XP, but it will soon accelerate, say analysts

Businesses feel a move to Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system isn't worth the effort yet, due to compatibility issues and it offering too few benefits over XP.

Almost a year after the businesses version of Vista was released, it seems uptake remains sluggish and analysts predict this won't change significantly for a while.

Mike Silver, research vice president at Gartner, told "From what we've seen so far, enterprises in the US and Europe have been slow to take it up."

Silver explained there are two reasons for this, the first being that software vendors have yet to come out with enough software which will work with the operating system (OS). Also, companies don't seem to see much point in using Vista over XP, the OS it replaces.

Silver said: "Organisations really are not sold on the benefits [of Vista]."

But Silver predicts uptake will accelerate in 2008, with increased planning and testing and the arrival of the first service pack (SP1) fuelling demand.

"[SP1 is] still a bit of a bellwether or milestone for some organisations," Silver said.

David Bradshaw, analyst at Ovum, agreed that uptake has been slow: "It's taking a bit longer than expected with business take-up."

Bradshaw added: "Realistically, it's a major cost for businesses, and businesses really, really need to see the benefit first. And that benefit isn't going to emerge completely for a year or two."

Bradshaw explained: "There's no one killer application. You have to decide whether it's critical to your business."

Bradshaw predicted the tipping point will come in two or three years when more applications work with Vista than XP. Bradshaw said: "Businesses know that they'll adopt it in the long term."

Many enterprise agreements with Microsoft will include an upgrade to Vista and so it's only a matter of time before businesses take the plunge, added Bradshaw.

Richard Edwards, senior analyst at Butler Group, was less positive. He said: "I'm not seeing any uptake of Vista whatsoever… and there's absolutely no appetite for Vista."

Edwards added: "I think at the moment XP is doing a good enough job. The market is not hunting in any particular areas that Vista is addressing."

And, with technical support for XP running until 2014, Edwards said IT directors will have plenty of other things to worry about first.

Frank Foxall, chief executive of Camwood, which, among other things, helps companies migrate operating systems, told "In the first year, I don't think it's [uptake is] anywhere near where Microsoft wanted it."

Foxall added: "The biggest competition is still XP. The biggest intangible [challenge] is what will and what won't work."

But Foxall added that lots of Camwood's customers are now preparing for Vista as they know they'll need to make the move at some point soon.

"The biggest driver for Vista is eventuality," said Foxall.

Foxall predicted around 70 percent of Camwood's customers will want help with Vista preparation in 2008, with full take-up of the OS taking place over the next couple of years.

But, despite these views, Microsoft claims to be satisfied with the global uptake of Vista. The company said it has sold 88 million licences for the OS (consumer and business versions combined) and expects to have sold 100 million by the end of the year.