Memo To Forrester: Vista Is Not The Problem - InformationWeek

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7/25/2008
01:28 PM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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Memo To Forrester: Vista Is Not The Problem

Everyone's atwitter (not that Twitter) about the new "enterprise trends" report from Forrester Research, which stuck the shiv in Microsoft's virtual back by comparing Vista to "new Coke." Wrong; Vista is actually like Sprite -- it's a decent alternative to Windows XP, though not to everyone's taste.

Everyone's atwitter (not that Twitter) about the new "enterprise trends" report from Forrester Research, which stuck the shiv in Microsoft's virtual back by comparing Vista to "new Coke." Wrong; Vista is actually like Sprite -- it's a decent alternative to Windows XP, though not to everyone's taste.I'll admit that if you go by the enterprise penetration of Vista, things aren't exactly looking up for Microsoft's new operating system. Forrester reported that, of 50,000 enterprise users it surveyed, only 8.8% were running Vista. The vast majority were sticking with Windows XP.

So it's not surprising that the Forrester report has touched off a blogosphere feeding frenzy, with lazy posters hither and yon characterizing Vista as a failure. I'd say that's both unfair and a highly simplistic view of the situation.

Enterprise users are being rational right now in not migrating in great numbers to Vista. This is because a) Vista requires more expensive hardware than does XP (though the differential is not as great as it was when Vista launched a year and a half ago), and b) supporting Vista throws a huge monkey wrench into corporate IT operations. That latter hit plays out both in one-time training costs for support staff and in the additional ongoing expense of adding another platform (Vista) alongside XP, Mac OS X, and whatever else (like maybe LAMP on the server side) the IT group is already loaded down with.

But, again, this doesn't mean that Vista sucks.

The thing I think everyone is really missing in calling Vista an enterprise failure is this: Just because every single corporation hasn't adopted it, it doesn't mean Vista really is a failure. (Counterintuitive, I know.) Here's the thing: The maturation of the market no longer necessitates OS updates every few years.

What happened in the real world is that XP at some point crossed over from being slightly rickety to being rock-solid. So when Vista arrived, the imperative for adoption was no longer there. (This notwithstanding Vista's security improvements, which are sometimes hard for enterprises to quantify, insofar as comparing them to the expense of adoption is concerned.)

Now, Vista for consumers is another deal entirely. Consumers love it. As a consumer, I love. It looks good, and it runs fairly decently. Sure, there are some lingering deficiencies. Mostly notably, search is still busted. I know, my critics will say that I just like Vista because of its glitzy Aero interface. I do like Aero, but I don't like Vista just for Aero.

My final point is that I think we should all accept for now that both XP and Vista are going to coexist for the foreseeable future. That's why I said at that outset that, if Vista were a soft drink, it'd be Sprite. Because it's a viable alternative, just maybe a bit too sweet for some tastes.

There you have it. What do you think? Please leave your comments below or e-mail them to me directly at [email protected].

More on Vista: Read What To Do When Windows Vista Crashes: Little-Known Recovery Strategies; and Top 5 Windows Vista Tips To Personalize Your PC.

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