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Vista Still Getting Mixed Reviews

Windows Vista is now on the migration map for most enterprise customers, at least according to one researcher. But it's still getting hammered in the media.

Windows Vista is now on the migration map for most enterprise customers, at least according to one researcher. But it's still getting hammered in the media. Case in point: John Dvorak, the noted tech curmudgeon/columnist, has had it up to here with Vista. So much so, he's threatening to dump Windows altogether.

The problem with Vista? Dvorak cites the price -- which many agree is inflated. Also the over-abundance of versions makes the purchase decision needlessly complicated.

He says Microsoft has taken its eye off the prize. Why? One word, Dvorak says: Google.

"Much of this mess, I strongly believe, is due to Microsoft's recent obsession with Google and online search. Now Microsoft wants to be in the advertising business because Google is in the advertising business. Meanwhile, it can't do its real job," he wrote. Others agreed.

That's akin to the mountain going to Mohammed. Dvorak is definitely a Windows guy, not a Linux or Mac head. Now he's threatening (kind of) to jump ship.

On the plus side, from Microsoft's point of view, corporations are starting to weave Vista into their future infrastructure plans, at least according to one market researcher. As of now, 2 percent of the desktops in 600 organizations surveyed by Forrester Research are running Vista.

That number sounds paltry, but coming within a year of official release, it isn't bad, according to Forrester analyst Benjamin Gray. Vista was generally available at the end of January, although enterprise accounts had access a month or so earlier.

Gray said companies weighing a move from Windows XP or earlier versions had some big factors to consider.

"Vista had some pretty serious hardware requirements and companies sitting down with the roadmap stumbled on a few things. First, [for a long time] there was limited information on Service Pack 1. Companies view SP1 Microsoft's blessing that the OS is complete. They were awaiting word on that. Now that they know it's coming [in the first quarter 2008] they will get more serious about upgrading," Gray told Redmond Developer News.

Companies have to test their line-of-business applications on the new operating system and if there are compatibility issues make decisions there as well, he noted. That process can take six to 12 months with some companies, even budgeting up to 18 months to fully check out their custom applications. "If they are not compatible they will have to be updated through Windows update or through other ISVs," Gray said.

Many users and the developers supporting them are not sure what the big benefit of Vista is over Windows XP, especially as many of the features promised for Vista (when it was to be part of Longhorn) are now being pulled forward to Windows XP.

Gray says Vista's biggest advantage over XP is in security and security management, which is important for IT departments. "There are also some very nice usability, user experience things. But the biggest driver is simply to stay current with Microsoft support," he said.

About the Author

Barbara Darrow is Industry Editor for Redmond Developer News, Redmond magazine and Redmond Channel Partner. She has covered technology and business issues for 20 years.

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Reader Comments:

Wed, Dec 5, 2007 JNelson Kentucky

I think if more hardware companies that had popular equipment make drivers for Vista more people may go to it. As it stands right now they are using it as a Jumping board to increase profits and market share forcing users to buy newer equipment with the Vista Drivers. I also agree the price is infalted for Vista. But eventually support for XP and security updates will cease and all will be forced to upgrade to Vista.

Tue, Nov 20, 2007 Robo Anonymous

Your article should be titled "Vista marketing still getting mixed reviews" because you are not evaluating the OS itself, but its pricing and feature packaging. I have been using Vista Ultimate and Vista Business for most of the year now, and I am very happy with them.
Why are there different versions? Simple. People would be complaining if they had to pay for the full functionality of the Ultimate version to run it on a home desktop box, or a desktop business box. Then you would write an article denouncing Microsoft for not offering less expensive versions.
As far as Microsoft's overall strategy is concerned, only time will tell if it made the right choices.

Tue, Nov 20, 2007 Anonymous Anonymous

I must disagree with BD's assertion that there are some nice usability, user experience things. After 6 months of Vista, we have finally chucked it and are returning to XP as quickly as possible. If you are looking for reduced productivity at higher one-time and recurring costs, Vista is probably for you.
If it were not for so many alleged pundits ooo'ing and ahhh'ing over the new eye candy OS, perhaps a better served public would choose otherwise. We have switched from HP to Dell just to avoid the Vista OS purchase hastle..

Tue, Nov 20, 2007 Anonymous Anonymous

Vista is nice on the right hardware, but I don't think many enteprise customers are willing to foot the bill for the usability. My company has about 5500 PC's worldwide and another 2700 notebooks, and we will be using XP for our next Refresh in '08. This has already been decided mostly due to a Vista and SAP issue that can't be resolved.

Fri, Nov 16, 2007 Zona NY

I couldnt agree with you more!

Fri, Nov 16, 2007 Anonymous Anonymous

Vista is the new Windows ME... sucked then sucks now

Thu, Nov 15, 2007 CIO Anonymous

I like MS stuff normally and use it to build serious IT services. But, Vista? Well, i think it started me to re-think MS as a whole ! I think of jumping ship too.
At least make it cheap MS and remove all those different versions which make no sense at all.

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