IT Departments Giving Vista The Cold Shoulder
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At the end of an already slow summer buying season, a majority of companies are still not ready to deploy Windows Vista, according to a new survey of 1,600 IT professionals.
The survey, which polled members of the ChangeWave Alliance in July, found that 62 percent of respondents have no current plans to deploy Windows Vista. That's down one percent from the last survey the group conducted in April, but still considerably higher than the 50 percent that said they had no plans for Vista in the January survey.
Vista was rolled out to corporate buyers last November and to consumers at the end of January.
The ChangeWave Alliance, which was formed in 2000, describes itself as "a group of 10,000 business, technology and medical professionals." The surveys are conducted among alliance members who are involved in making IT spending decisions.
Perhaps as revealing as the high percentage of companies that have no current plans to deploy Vista is the fact that only three percent of companies that already have formal rollout plans in place will install the operating system software. Meanwhile, only one percent of companies surveyed have completed their Vista deployment, according to the survey results.
The survey's findings are clearly not the best news for Microsoft considering Vista first became available to corporate customers more than 10 months ago. However, IT shops usually take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to test a new desktop operating system version before rolling it out.
Although the company has tried to maintain an upbeat outlook for Vista sales, Microsoft executives in recent months have been actively promoting its stability, security, and reliability at seemingly every opportunity to boost demand.
Some of the apparent reticence by IT departments to commit to Vista may be due to the long wait for Vista's first service pack, which is set to begin beta testing any day now. The company committed at the end of august to deliver the first beta of Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) "in a few weeks," and the final code during the first quarter of 2008.
Though Microsoft has declined to be more specific about the actual delivery date, the company is already scheduled to hold a gala to launch three other critical enterprise productsWindows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008on February 27. It's conceivable the company might choose to "re-launch" Vista by highlighting the arrival of SP1 at the gala.
In past desktop OS launches, many corporate customers postponed committing to the new system until the first service pack became availablea semi-official sign that the code is finally bug free and ready for primetime.
In the meantime, the July survey found that only 12 percent of respondents have a tentative or informal plan for upgrading to Vista. Another 14 percent are currently working on an upgrade plan. Both figures are down from 18 percent in the January 2007 survey.
There is one piece of good news for Microsoft.
"Twenty-eight percent said their company has some computers with Vista already installeda three-point uptick from April," said Joshua Levine, who authored the statement accompanying the survey results and serves as a contributing editor to the ChangeWave Alliance.
The question, however, is why is there still so little interest in Vista among corporate customers so late in the game?
Levine presented some larger results and trends from the survey that may somewhat mitigate the negative view of Vista.
"First, in a sign of slower software spending, a very high percentage of respondents (29 percent, up from 14 percent) said their company 'currently does not need to purchase any new software.' This represents a two-fold increase on this key issue since our previous survey in April," Levine said.
"Secondly, only 23 percent of respondents cited 'software is getting outdated and must be replaced' as a key driver for their company, down 14 points from previously," he added. Additionally, summer is traditionally a slower time for IT-related businesses.
Still, cautions one longtime Microsoft observer, it may simply be too early in the product's lifecycle to draw any sweeping conclusions regarding Vista's adoption rate.
"Until after a calendar year, it really doesn't matter" what surveys say, Michael Cherry, lead analyst for operating systems at researcher Directions on Microsoft, told InternetNews.com.
Microsoft officials were unavailable for comment.