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Innovation

Microsoft wants you to move: To IE 8, Vista...

A visit to the Microsoft booth at the Gartner Symposium and ITxpo is full of subliminal messages urging technology executives to move up to more modern products.One part of the booth rides shotgun with a research note (from Gartner of course) making sure you "understand the risks of skipping Windows Vista.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

A visit to the Microsoft booth at the Gartner Symposium and ITxpo is full of subliminal messages urging technology executives to move up to more modern products.

One part of the booth rides shotgun with a research note (from Gartner of course) making sure you "understand the risks of skipping Windows Vista." Another part of the booth says "don't wait for IE8 to move from IE6."

See a theme here? Microsoft wants you to upgrade really bad. The problem: PCs are lasting much longer than expected and companies see no reason to get on the upgrade bandwagon. Indeed, I recently got a loaner laptop and the default settings were XP with IE6. I had forgotten what IE6 even looked like.

Also see: Ballmer: It’s ok to wait until Windows 7; Yahoo still ‘makes sense’; Google Apps ‘primitive’

Now there are some good reasons to move toward Vista--and IE 8. The security is better, these older apps won't be supported forever and you could be on something like XP longer than you think.

Think it'll get folks to budge? Not a chance. Microsoft's pushing could just make execs hang on for Windows 7--and whatever browser comes with it--a little longer.

Here in Orlando the Microsoft upgrade question is a burning issue. Later today, Gartner analyst Michael Silver, who just a few months ago noted Windows would collapse under its own weight, tackles the issue. The question: Which version of Windows and Office do you use and for how long?

Silver's presentation this go round is a little more constructive on Vista, but you can argue either way. Microsoft wants you to think about the risks of not upgrading. Customers want Microsoft to think about the savings involved with not moving up to Vista and the latest office.

Some key points:

  • Through 2009 more than half the documents created will be in legacy binary formats. So much for .docx extensions in Office. The latest Office also requires training since it has a new user interface.
  • Windows and Office stock keeping units re too damn complicated. Look at these flavors.

  • That said Gartner reckons that vendors won't support new applications running on XP starting in 2010. That's the risk of not switching.

Add it up though and there are as many reasons to skip Vista as there are to upgrade to it. A coin flip is not a reason to upgrade.

Among the reasons to not skip Vista:

  • Software vendors don't support old OSes that long;
  • Microsoft could delay its latest OS;
  • You may not have the budget to upgrade to Windows 7.

Silver notes:

Organizations that have the need or capability to do a forklift migration could consider skipping Windows Vista and planning a forklift migration to Windows 7, but should understand the risks involved. Windows 7 is an unknown entity with unknown features and an uncertain time frame. Skipping Windows Vista will not mean that the work done to remediate applications for Windows Vista will be eliminated; we expect much of the same work would need to be done to prepare for Windows 7 as well. Organizations that plan to skip Vista should have contingency plans to be able to deploy Vista for some users and should ensure that they have a commitment for the necessary budget to move off Windows XP and onto Windows 7 in 2012.

And the reasons to skip:

  • You're an company with less than 1,000 users;
  • 35 percent or more of your applications are written in-house;
  • Or you replace all of your PCs at once and you have a replacement project prepped for 2012;
  • You have alternatives such as Linux and Apple explored.

Overall though, every situation will be different. Microsoft's problem is that the decision to upgrade to Vista and the latest Office still remains a coin flip for customers.

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