Intel Sees Windows 7 Adoption Speeding Past Vista

Intel rejected Vista for its own 80,000 employees, but expects Windows 7 to be adopted much more quickly than Vista was.
Intel's chief sales and marketing officer predicts businesses and consumers will move to upcoming Windows 7 at a much faster rate than Vista, the previous version of Microsoft's operating system that was seen by many people as buggy and bloated.

Intel made headlines about a year ago when The New York Times reported that the chip maker rejected Vista for the computers of its 80,000 employees. In analyzing Vista, Intel's technology staff had concluded the cost of migrating to the OS was more than the potential benefits.

With Windows 7, however, Intel sees "just one big positive" for businesses and consumers, Intel's Sean Maloney said Wednesday in answering questions at the company's Technology Summit in San Francisco. "This time, we think it will go faster," Maloney said of Windows 7 adoption.

Windows 7 is seen by many reviewers as much better than Vista, which a lot of businesses considered buggy and requiring too much of a hardware upgrade to run. However, despite Maloney's comments, how fast companies will deploy Windows 7 remains to be seen.

An InformationWeek Analytics survey of businesses found many of them in no rush to upgrade to Windows 7. Fully 42% of the more than 1,400 business technology professionals surveyed said Microsoft ending of support for XP was the biggest reason to migrate. Only 18% said it was because of new features, and a third said their companies had no plans to deploy Windows 7 at this time.

On the popularity of netbooks, Maloney said the market for the inexpensive mini-laptops appeared to be "maturing." Even though the devices have been the fastest growing segment of the PC market during the current economic recession, their performance limitations prevent them from becoming the choice of first-time mobile PC buyers.

"The first time you buy something, you want the real deal," Maloney said. "It's human nature."

Netbooks would likely settle in as a second or third computer among people looking for a small laptop to check e-mail and surf the Web, or as an option for parents looking for a PC for their children, Maloney said. Netbooks will account for one in five of the roughly 163 million laptops expected to ship this year, according to DisplaySearch. The mini-laptops, which sell for less than $500, have been most popular in the emerging market of Latin America and in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

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