Vista not grabbing businesses... yet

XP and compatibility issues are limiting the OS's appeal, say analysts

XP and compatibility issues are limiting the OS's appeal, say analysts

Businesses feel a move to Microsoft's Windows Vista OS 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 take-up remains sluggish and analysts predict this won't change significantly for a while.

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

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He 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 OS.

In addition, companies don’t seem to see much point in using Vista over XP, the operating system 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.

"It's [SP1] still a bit of a bellwether or milestone for some organisations," he said.

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

He 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."

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

He 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."

He added that 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.

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."

He 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, CEO of Camwood - which, among other things, helps companies migrate operating systems - told silicon.com: "In the first year, I don't think it's [take-up] anywhere near where Microsoft wanted it."

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

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

He said: "The biggest driver for Vista is eventuality."

He predicted around 70 per cent 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 told silicon.com it's 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.