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Vista, Better Than the Older Windows

Microsoft marketing Vista as a cost savings to businesses in energy consumption, reduced management headache.

(Seattle) Microsoft Corp.'s effort to get big businesses to buy the new version of its Windows operating system isn't just about selling security improvements, better search tools and improved graphics.

The company also hopes to convince companies that you have to spend money -- on Windows Vista -- to save money on other business costs.

Microsoft plans Tuesday to release research showing that changes it made to Vista could help companies reduce energy costs -- small amounts, it concedes, but ones that could add up over time.

Microsoft also has been trying hard to convince companies that Vista could be easier to manage and require less technical help, also reducing costs.

Vista, the first major upgrade to Microsoft's operating system in five years, is due out to business customers in November and to consumers in January.

Analyst Joe Wilcox with Jupiter Research said there may be cost savings associated with the new program, but, "The question is, 'What will it cost them to upgrade to Vista?'"

The retail cost to upgrade or buy a new copy of Vista runs between $99.95 and $399, depending upon version, although some large corporations buy software like this through broader licensing agreements, and prices vary.

In addition to the software cost, for many companies, moving to a new operating system means other expense and hassle. There's also the cost of testing it to make sure it works with other, often highly specialized corporate software, then installing it and training people to use it.

Many companies will wait a year or more before starting such a move, simply to see if all the bugs in the software are worked out.

Wilcox said the timing of Vista's release -- years after some initially expected it -- could hurt Microsoft even more. Many companies upgraded their computer equipment around 1999, to deal with fears about Y2K, prompting another rash of upgrades five years later, around 2004, he said.

Now, he said, some companies may not want to spend money on new software or equipment, meaning Microsoft has to come up with a solid argument for doing so.

Dean DeWhitt, director of the Windows Kernel Team, said he was surprised to hear from big corporate customers who were thinking about how to save money by reducing energy costs.

"When it gets down to the bottom line, it all counts," he said.

Windows Vista, Microsoft says, can let desktop computers more efficiently manage electricity, much like laptop computers have long conserved battery power.

The software also allows corporations to centrally manage how all workers' computers act when they aren't being used. The ability for one technical manager to make sure all computers go into low-power mode when not in use, or go to sleep instead of being left on all night, could lead to significant savings, DeWhitt said.

Brad Goldberg, a general manager in Microsoft's Windows group, said Microsoft also is telling corporate customers that the investment in Vista is worth it in part because of other long-term cost-savings. Among other things, Goldberg said the system could be easier for companies to manage, be more reliable and secure, and could require users to seek out less technical help.

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Reader Comments:

Thu, Oct 19, 2006 Greg NC

From my experience with Vista thus far, the comment that it is better than older windows is a bit premature.

This OS has some improvements but nothing earth shattering that makes it stand out. Vista has continued the trend of XP (we concluded XP wasn't worth change during our testing and evaluation) to introduce more automation. Some of the added fluff becomes a nuisance that has to be disabled to produce the expected configuration. The changes in the TCP/IP stack are a step forward, but not enough to create a compelling argument for change.

Overall... I have seen nothing that makes the change worth the cost and efforts; this of course is just the initial look further testing may alter that first impression.
We still run 2k on the desktop and 2000 & 2003 Server, without plans of change in the foreseeable in the future.

New features that are not compatible with 2k are not a factor that affects us as of yet. If Vista is the future of Microsoft Desktops, then a migration to a Linux desktop such as “SUSE” will certainly be in our future.

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