The Vista bashing campaign continues, so I can't help myself and blog about it again. Computerworld presents new data from Forrester with an article entitled "Forrester survey: Enterprises reject Vista like 'new Coke'". I will write about the same data in this post, but as you might have noticed, I used a slightly different heading. After you have read my version of the story, you will have to acknowledge that sometimes reality is a matter of perspective.
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The hard facts of the Forrester survey are that 8.8% of 50,000 enterprise users are running Windows Vista on their PCs and 87.1% Windows XP. Now, I am asking where is the connection to sugar water? Did those 87.1% decide to stay with XP because Vista didn't taste sweet enough? Or do these enterprise users just use the Windows version that their IT departments installed on their PCs?
You might object that IT managers made this decision, which makes it even more obvious that Vista tastes bitter. However, the real flaw in this comparison is that the success of an operating system has to be measured by completely different means. The heading of my article makes this point clear. Heck, 8.8% Vista installations in large and very large enterprises after only 18 months is indeed a success for Microsoft.
To change your favorite sugar water brand costs you only a few steps to the next shelf in the super market. I wished it were that easy when changing a desktop operating system. It is a matter of fact that the size of the organization correlates with the efforts required to move to a new desktop OS. I wonder why Forrester only interviewed enterprise users. Perhaps this was necessary to get a single-figure result?
If you have read my series about the Vista vs. Windows XP issue, you already know what I think about Microsoft's latest desktop OS. Yup, there is no doubt that I am a Vista fan boy. But what do you think would have been the result if Forrester had interviewed the users in my organization? Well, I can tell you that far less than 8.8% would have responded to use Vista. It certainly depends on your environment, but deploying a new desktop OS requires many preparations. It also depends on the amount of time administrators have to prepare the infrastructure for the change.
This is certainly not new information. It is not the first time that Microsoft has come out with a new desktop OS. Thus, if you really want to know how well Vista is doing in the corporate sector, you shouldn't compare it to the sales figures of sugar water, but to the adoption rate of its predecessor, Windows XP. According to Gartner's data 13% of business PCs will run Vista by the end of 2008. Considering that already 8.8% PCs large and of very large enterprises have Vista installed by now, it is quite likely that this prediction is correct. I guess that if one includes small and mid-sized businesses, Vista's share already exceeded 10% by now. One has to take into account here that the overall number of employees in SMBs is much bigger than those of large enterprises, simply because there are many more SMBs.
Hence, it is a matter of fact that Vista has outperformed XP sales in a comparable time period. Two years after its release XP was installed on 10% of all business PCs. Vista has reached this mark already after 18 months. This is indeed surprising, considering that migrating a desktop OS is much more complicated nowadays than it was seven years ago. The overall complexity of IT infrastructures undoubtedly increased tremendously since the release of Windows XP.
How come that people judge the same kind of data differently? My latest theory is that a meme-based Vista bashing virus is spreading through the Internet. Especially intelligent analysts who dislike Microsoft are infected easily. This virus makes them see what they want to see, i.e. that Vista is a failure for Microsoft. The "Mojave experiment" makes this more than obvious. If you let Vista skeptics try Vista without telling them what OS they are actually using, they give a positive feedback. I wonder what conclusion Forrester's analysts would draw, if you present the same adoption rates of Vista and XP without telling them what products they are actually evaluating.
Anyway, Vista is a cash cow for Microsoft. This is the real surprise. It seems that the Vista bashing virus can't prevent people from buying Windows.