Vista delayed until 2007, users unfazed

With corporate uptake of Windows Vista likely to be "sluggish", news last week that the general release of Windows Vista has been delayed until January 2007 left many IT managers unfazed.

Few companies said they planned urgent rollouts of Vista and were happy with the stability of their XP fleet.

Paul Cavanagh-Downs, Aristocrat Leisure CIO, said there is little motivation to upgrade.

"At the end of the day the good thing about XP is that it has been around for a while; if there are compelling reasons to upgrade we will do so, but at this stage there are no plans to roll out Vista," he said.

Other IT executives echoed this sentiment including Guy Griffin, IT manager of Sydney's Waverly Council, who said he's content to stick with XP, unless there is a killer application released with Vista.

Griffin said XP is tried and tested, so why rock the boat with a new operating system.

"Even if Vista was released tomorrow we would sit on XP and as we are a Novell site, I need to know how it will work in that environment," he said. While Microsoft's co-president of the platform and services division, Jim Allchin said the broad availability of Vista will be pushed back until next year, Vista will be available to business partners through its volume licensing program in November 2006.

Allchin said this will enable partneres to begin the deployment process throughout their business.

He said the main reason for delaying Vista is because the operating system did not reach a standard of quality Microsoft was comfortable with and the company wanted to give customers a firm date for delivery.

Adam Cogan, president of the Sydney .Net Users Group, said will hit PC manufacturers, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, the hardest.

The delay means hardware manufacturers will miss the lucrative Christmas buying season with a financial analyst claiming it will force them to revise their financial expectations.

Ovum principal analyst David Bradshaw said the delay can be summed up as a serious embarrassment to Microsoft.

"The decision to delay the customer version rather than the partner versions seems odd in commercial terms, and therefore has to be technical," Bradshaw said.

"The most surprising aspect in the whole affair is the restraint behind the response from large PC vendors; we suspect that their private comments to Microsoft will have been very, very different."

Vista rollouts planned for 2008-09 financial year

Both Gartner and Forrester Research released reports last year predicting that enterprise uptake of Windows Vista would be sluggish, just as it was with Windows XP. Forrester, for instance, said in December that its surveys indicated that only a third of big business users planned to start deploying Vista when it became available -- or even by the time Microsoft releases a Service Pack 1 update, which typically takes a year or so.

About 20 percent of users in Forrester's July 2005 survey of 56 large companies said they had no plans to upgrade to Vista at all.

For most companies, this delivery slip will not be an issue, because "it will take them 18 months of testing and planning before they can start deploying Windows Vista anyway", said Michael Silver, an analyst with Gartner. "Companies should have been planning for 2008 deployment anyway.

Marc West, CIO at H&R Block, said the company had no plans to upgrade to Vista until 2009, at the earliest.

The company has 120,000 PCs throughout its thousands of tax preparation branch offices running either Windows 2000 or XP.

"Given the current state of XP, it is wise to go for a higher quality and more security-tested product versus rushing for a deadline and having problems that diminish the opportunity to gain market attention [and] happy customers," West said.

- With Eric Lai

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