NETWORKWORLD has an interesting article about a new study from Forrester. In a document for “only” $279, Forrester analyst Benjamin Gray recommends not to skip Vista. I didn’t read the study myself because I usually don’t buy papers with unknown length for $279 even if it is from a well-known research company. So I can only rely on what NETWORKWORLD wrote about it.
Here are the five arguments that speak for upgrading to Vista in your organization according to Forrester:
- Switching thousands of users from Windows to another platform (Mac OS, Linux) is not a workable solution for the majority of companies.
- Users need to stay current on Microsoft and independent-software-vendor (ISV) support of Windows operating systems.
- Probable unavailability of Windows XP after June 30, 2008
- Uncertainty around the availability and feature set of Windows 7
- Valuable Vista features: security and user enhancements
All five arguments are certainly good reasons not to skip Vista. #1 depends on the size of the company. Those companies who can afford to buy Forrester studies probably will agree.
Staying up-to-date is always a good motivation to upgrade to the latest OS. Actually, it is the most important reason for me. As to my experience, it is only a matter of time until you run into problems with an old operating system. Most IT pros who prefer to wait for Windows 7 think that they can avoid all the problems an upgrade to Vista might pose. However, they forget that to wait too long with an upgrade will also cause problems simply because Microsoft and third party software vendors focus more and more on the new OS. I already experienced a few incidents where an application or a driver didn’t work properly under XP but ran without problems under Vista.
#3 is only a reason for organizations who buy the operating system together with new PCs. For Volume License customers it won’t be a problem to stay with XP for the next 5 years or so.
There has been be a lot of stir about an interview recently where Bill Gates seemed to indicate that Windows 7 might come out already in 2009. Later, Microsoft denied this release date and said that Windows 7 is still slated for 2010. Well, do you remember how often the release date of Windows Vista was postponed? I wouldn’t expect Windows 7 to be released before 2011. There is so little known about Windows 7 that one can hardly base any kind of decision regarding Vista on it. So I fully agree with #4.
The majority of respondents in my poll about Vista adoption voted for the “Wait for Windows 7 option”. I now think that they just wanted to express that Vista is not an option for them now and so they are sticking with XP until some better option comes around the corner. This is a reasonable strategy. However, if Microsoft postpones Windows 7 as often as they usually do with new operating systems, then there could come the day where sticking with Windows XP might turn out as the worst option simply because of compatibility reasons.
I have been writing a lot about #5 already. So I won’t go into this again. But I still think that the new features of Windows Vista are usually hopelessly underestimated. This is due to the fact that Vista didn’t come with those killer features that many journalists expected. However, what makes Vista such a powerful operating system are the countless tiny improvements. It might take one or two more years until the majority of IT pros will become aware of this fact though.