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Update Won't Stop IT Execs From Closing Door on Vista

Microsoft plans to release SP1 early next year, but some users say they'll stick with Windows XP for now.

By Eric Lai and Patrick Thibodeau
September 10, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Microsoft Corp. says it has sold 42 million volume licenses of Windows since it released Windows Vista to enterprise customers last November. But the company claims to have no statistics on how many of the corporate users who are eligible to move to Vista have actually done so.

As part of its efforts to encourage organizations to take the plunge, Microsoft late last month announced that it will ship the first service pack update of bug fixes and functionality tweaks for Vista during next years first quarter. The SP1 release will be accompanied by a third and final service pack for Windows XP, Vistas six-year-old predecessor.

But its no slam-dunk that SP1 will have the desired effect on Vistas corporate adoption rate, judging by the comments of IT managers such as Gregg Skip Bailey, CIO at the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Bailey said his agency, which is known as the ATF, may stick with Windows XP for up to three more years, even though it plans to begin upgrading its 7,000 desktop PCs with Vista- capable hardware in January.

One of the big reasons for holding off on Vista, Bailey said, is that the ATF wont have enough time between now and January to verify that all of its applications will run effectively on the new operating system.

The ATF, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice, is beginning a Vista compatibility testing program. But Bailey said that the planned desktop system replacements, which are part of the bureaus normal three-year upgrade cycle for PCs, will be finished before testing is completed.

In addition, Bailey doesnt see a compelling need to move quickly to Windows Vista. He said that although he thinks it offers advantages over Windows XP in the area of data security, the problems addressed by Vista are things we have solved in other ways.

Another CIO who works at a Texas bank that has more than 35,000 desktops running Windows XP said he plans to hold off on Vista for at least another year.

Vista adds a lot of overhead and not much benefit. Honestly, we dont see the value-add, said the CIO, who asked not to be named.

He added that his reluctance to move to Vista is out of character, given that the bank uses Microsoft software across the board and he has a personal history as an early adopter of Windows releases. For example, he moved to Windows 2000 and Windows XP when they were first released to manufacturing.

But even after Windows Vista SP1 becomes available, he expects to roll out the software to only a few developers and other users within IT. We will probably go to Vista eventually, but we will take our time about it, the CIO said.

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