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5/19/2008
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Windows Vista Not Popular In Big Corporations, Symantec Says

Most of Symantec's enterprise customers continue to run their systems on the older Windows XP operating system because "they're not yet comfortable with Vista."

In the latest disappointing turn for Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system, a Symantec executive said Monday that only a small percentage of the security software company's large enterprise customers have upgraded their corporate PCs to Vista.

"For the most part, we're not seeing it," said Enrique Salem, Symantec's chief operating officer, in an interview. Salem said most of Symantec's enterprise customers continue to run their systems on the older Windows XP operating system because "they're not yet comfortable with Vista."

Microsoft has said it plans to stop shipping XP to PC makers on June 30.

Salem said Windows Vista's slow uptake means lost sales for Symantec and other third-party software companies that provide security, upgrade services, and other add-on products for Microsoft software. "We wish it was more popular," he said.

Microsoft had hoped that the recent release of Service Pack 1 for Vista, which promises performance and security improvements, would boost the operating system's fortunes in the business world. Salem, however, said he's yet to see any evidence that enterprise software users are embracing Vista SP1.

Salem said Symantec is looking ahead, and that its engineers are already working with Microsoft on products for Windows 7 -- a successor to Vista due out in 2010.

Salem's statements are consistent with data from Microsoft and other sources that indicate Vista has been somewhat of a flop since it launched early last year.

Microsoft last month revealed that Windows license sales fell 24% in the company's fiscal third quarter. The company posted revenue from all desktop versions of Windows of $4 billion for the three months ended March 31, compared with Windows sales of $5.3 billion during the same period a year earlier.

Microsoft said the previous year's third-quarter sales were unusually high because they included revenue from Windows licenses sold during that period and $1.2 billion in revenue from Windows Vista pre-sales that took place in the latter half of calendar year 2006.

Still, discounting the impact of the pre-sales, Microsoft's third quarter 2008 Windows sales are virtually flat year-over-year during a time when, by Microsoft's own estimate, the overall PC market grew 8% to 10%.

Among the reasons for Vista's tepid performance are concerns about its resource requirements, lack of compatibility with existing applications, and the fact that new competitors, including Apple's Leopard OS and a more user-friendly Linux, have emerged.

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