Will Microsoft abandon Vista? February 3, 2008Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Microsoft, Software, Technology, Windows/Microsoft.
Many corporations have held back and not upgraded to Microsoft Windows Vista, instead choosing to continue to use the stable and highly compatible Windows XP operating system. This has significantly hurt sales of Vista. Then, several months ago a CNET article reported that Microsoft agreed to allow users to down-grade their Vista computers so they could run Windows XP.
A recent survey by CDW shows why users have not upgraded. Some of the reasons not to upgrade to Vista included the hardware requirements, the way in which Vista is a memory hog, incompatibilities with existing Windows applications (which run fine on XP), security holes, and the lack of any significant advantages over Windows XP. Some people are hoping that Vista’s first service pack (SP1) upgrade will solve some of the problems, but most have already decided to stay with Windows XP and are looking forward to XP’s next service pack (SP3).
When I read this article by eWeek I couldn’t help but wonder if Microsoft was ready to give up on Vista and move on to the next version of XP, referred to as Windows 7. They have released less-than-stellar versions of Windows operating systems before. Do you remember Windows ME? In some ways, Windows NT Workstation and Windows 2000 never really took off like Windows 98 or XP. Some organizations (including where I work) stayed with Windows 98 until Windows XP was released. We totally skipped both Windows NT Workstation and Windows 2000 as the standard for the PC’s in offices and computer labs. Now, we must decide if we will do the same with Windows Vista.
Since I work at a college, many of our I.T. decisions are tied to the academic year. We lock in an operating system in our computer labs for the entire year, not making any mid-year changes. When Windows Vista was released last year, we quickly determined that much of the academic software used in our computer labs would not run properly and so we couldn’t upgrade to Vista until the academic software was made compatible with Vista. Our assumption was that one year would be ample time for the vendors to update their products (it’s just a simple re-compile, right?). Well, we are more than half way through the year and we are still waiting for updates to many of the academic programs we use in the labs. That’s a problem. We’ve been reading articles about the number of organizations that have resisted the proposed upgrade path and stayed with XP as their desktop OS standard. Then, we begin to see rumors that Microsoft will be emphasizing the next version of Window XP, known as Windows 7, you can’t help but wonder if they are having flashbacks to Windows ME.
How long will it be until Microsoft announces the end-of-life date for Vista? I predict it will be years. After all, there are millions more users running Vista than were running Window ME at its peak. It took Microsoft a couple of years before they announced the end of that product line. I expect the same for Vista. Until they have a solid upgrade path in place (i.e. released Windows 7) they can’t give the impression that Vista isn’t a viable solution. After all, they need users to update to something if they are going to maintain a revenue stream.
The most surprising statement from the eWeek article came in the last paragraph. They wrote,
“For now, whether Microsoft likes it or not, XP, and not Vista, is the Windows those businesses will continue to use. And the companies that want to move on to a truly better operating system? They’ll be moving to Linux or Mac OS.”