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4 Reasons Windows Vista 'Failed'

You can't swing a mouse by its cord without hitting someone who has a strong opinion of Windows Vista. What went wrong, will Windows 7 save the day, and what does your business need to do about upgrading operating systems?
You can't swing a mouse by its cord without hitting someone who has a strong opinion of Windows Vista. What went wrong, will Windows 7 save the day, and what does your business need to do about upgrading operating systems?Windows 7 is in beta right now, with plenty of folks testing it out and developers hopefully fixing any bugs. Will Microsoft learn its lesson from the rollout of the much-maligned Vista?

Peter Schay, executive vice president of The Advisory Council, offers his opinion about why the adoption rate for Vista, particularly among businesses, is low:

  • Lack of application software compatibility. The No. 1 reason businesses have not accepted Vista as their default desktop platform, says Schay.
  • You can't have it both ways when it comes to security. Schay says that for all the effort Microsoft put into securing Vista, it still can't win. First, he says, the security improvements in Vista are a major factor in the lack of application software compatibility. And second, one of those improvements, User Account Control, is a "major end-user annoyance."
  • Hardware requirements. Schay points out that businesses don't typically upgrade to new OS versions on installed hardware -- the labor required to do an in-place OS version upgrade is too expensive. He says: "Businesses migrate to new operating systems as part of their hardware refresh cycle, and any new PC has more than enough horsepower to handle Vista. With the current squeeze on IT spending, of course, an obvious and common tactic is to increase the time between hardware refresh cycles. Many businesses are now adopting four- to five-year cycles to stretch their IT budget and resources. This is another reason for the slow uptake of Vista in the enterprise."
  • User interface differences. The Vista UI doesn't offer enough new benefits to justify a switch, Schay believes. "Curiously, this obstacle is becoming a moot point, since it is nearly impossible to get a consumer-grade PC with anything other than Vista, so chances are rising that users have experienced a Vista system at home," he says. "Moreover, Microsoft Office 2007 has been accepted in business more widely than Vista, despite its significantly different UI, because the general feeling has been that the benefits of the new features outweigh the migration training costs."

So what about Windows 7? Schay says IT managers need to understand that all the reasons to delay migrating to Vista apply to Windows 7 as well, because if your application software is incompatible with Vista, it will be incompatible with Windows 7.

Schay finishes up with the same conclusion I made last week: Since Windows XP is going away eventually, you need to be ready for some sort of migration, whether it's to Vista, to Linux, or even to Macintosh.