And Yet, Gartner Says: Don't Skip Vista
All of these points don't necessarily mean that your enterprise should skip Windows Vista entirely. Although half the Gartner clients they surveyed don't plan to begin Vista migration until the second half of 2008 (the same clients who represent 2.5 million PCs and, in 2006, confidently said they'd get going with Vista in the second half of 2007 or beginning of 2008). "We don't recommend skipping Vista," said MacDonald. They do, however, suggest that enterprises adopt Vista by attrition (such as when buying new computers that have it preloaded). That's not because of Vista's virtues but, said MacDonald, because Windows 7 is scheduled to be released in 2009 or 2010 and you don't want to wait until 2012 for deployment.
The analysts recommended that in the short term, enterprises assess the range of Windows OS types and instances in their infrastructure and determine their company's own tipping point for OS-agnostic applications. In the next year, they said, IT managers should evaluate where various virtualization technologies and OS-anostic apps can provide early advantages.
Should you consider other operating systems? (It's not an unusual idea.)
MacDonald and Silver believe you should at least calculate the cost of switching to another environment. Microsoft won't change its message unless enterprises make it clear they'll adopt technologies and strategies that serve its users best, they said. Do proceed with Windows Vista deployments as you've planned, though, as the earliest Microsoft could deliver against the analysts' vision (if they wanted to) would be 2010.
What does Microsoft think of all this? MacDonald and Silver said they've talked with Steve Ballmer about their analysis, but 95% of Microsoft revenue comes from OEM shipments. Ballmer "has billions at risk," Silver said. "I believe Microsoft will pursue a path of slow incremental change because that's safest for their stockholders--unless you vote with your dollars."
This story, "Gartner Explains Why Windows Is Broken" was originally published by CIO.