Windows Users Not Quite Ready for Vista

A Harris Interactive survey shows most users not as willing to upgrade their current systems to install Vista, at least not yet.

Windows Vista has been shipping officially since November, and with Microsoft claiming 20 million licenses sold in February soon after the consumer version hit the channel, Microsoft's successful track record with new releases overall rolls on.

But when drilling down on the consumer upgrade picture, it gets a bit fuzzy. A two-part survey from Harris Interactive shows that consumers who already own computers are not as apt to upgrade to Vista now, and most of them have plans to stay put with their current OS.

Back in December, Harris found that among 1,028 U.S. adults, 87 percent said they were aware of Vista. Of those, 20 percent said they planned to upgrade. Another survey of 2,228 U.S. adults in March after the official launch of the consumer version showed even fewer, 12 percent, were hot on the newly launched OS.

Here's where the upgrade picture seems to show a glimmer of good news: Among December respondents who indicated they had plans to buy a new PC, 15 percent said they'd wait for Vista. In the March survey, 20 percent were ready to buy a new PC with Vista installed on it.

And that data bodes well for PC sellers and retailers. Of those who said they plan on upgrading within the next 12 months, 48 percent said they plan to do so by shoring up their computers to meet Vista's hardware requirements, while 31 percent are considering a new PC purchase with Vista already installed.

Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Jupiter Research, contends that the Harris poll points to obvious timing problems with this release: "It's not that most people aren't ready to upgrade, it's that people need the motivation to upgrade." He adds, "Vista launched at a slow time of the year in terms of when people do these types of things -- it's not back-to-school, it's not the holiday season. There's no impetus to go out and buy that PC right now."

Gartenburg believes Microsoft's success with Windows XP compounds the problem of selling consumers and businesses on the benefits of upgrading to Vista overall. "[Windows] XP did what consumers wanted it to do. When what you've got on the market meets the threshold of 'good enough,' then you've got to get consumers beyond that and say, 'there's even better.'"

Despite the results of the survey, Microsoft says Vista sales outpaced first month sales for Windows XP.

About the Author

Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.


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