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Microsoft does the softsell on Windows 7 to enterprises

Enterprise early adopters start commenting on Windows 7

By Eric Lai
September 14, 2009 06:00 AM ET

Computerworld - Microsoft Corp. today touted the experience of enterprises that have already started to deploy its coming operating system, Windows 7.

The software maker also released a study it commissioned to Forrester Consulting, an arm of analyst firm Forrester Research Inc., that looks at the coming needs of large enterprises -- needs that Microsoft believes Windows 7's new features can address.

The software maker also talked up two closely related products that it hopes will lure enterprises to move to Windows 7 sooner as well as ease their migration pain.

Windows 7 was made available to Microsoft's 51 million enterprise licensing customers at the beginning of this month. While there are few realistic alternatives to Windows in the minds of most large enterprises, Microsoft is still keen on getting them to upgrade to Windows 7 -- and Windows Server 2008 R2 -- as soon as possible, to minimize the number that fall off the lucrative enterprise agreement/Software Assurance track, and upsell them on new optional features.

Enterprise agreements are Microsoft's most profitable license as they require customers to buy additional Software Assurance contracts that cost almost as much as the EA itself. The cherry on top of all this are the Client Access Licenses (CALs) for Windows Server that let PCs use various Windows features that work only in conjunction with Windows Server.

Microsoft argues that companies that spend money to deploy Windows 7 now can save money in the long run. In cases studies provided by Microsoft, three companies that have already started deploying Windows 7, said the operating system is:

  • A big jump up from Windows XP. Of the city of Miami's 2,500 employees, two-thirds were still running Microsoft's 8-year-old operating system (the rest are on Vista). Rather than continuing with its rolling four- to five-year hardware refresh cycle, the city plans to get Windows 7 on 10% of its PCs by the end of next month and provide new and in-place upgrades for remaining users within two years, according to a case study provided by Microsoft. Windows 7 features, such as ease of managing and deploying operating system images, will lower IT management costs by $89 per PC per year, the city says. The city also has 100 branch offices and expects Windows 7's BranchCache feature to help it save $14 per PC per year in network bandwidth costs. BranchCache, which caches content on branch servers while still managing it centrally, is a feature that works only in conjunction with Windows Server 2008 R2.
  • Lets PCs use less power. Through Group Policy features available in Windows 7, IT administrators can set rules to power-down machines at night but wake them if necessary. The city of Miami predicts it will save $54 per PC per year from lower energy costs. U.K.-based financial services firm Baker Tilly said it can save about $28 per PC per year from reduced power consumption.
  • Easier for IT to manage. Dutch technology integrator (and close Microsoft partner) Getronics projects it will save $107 per PC per year on IT labor costs on PCs running Windows 7, giving it financial payback within six months. Windows 7's ease of use will also give end users an estimated 20 extra hours a year in productivity, according to Getronics. Getronics expects to deploy Windows 7 on 1,000 PCs by year's end, and to the rest of the company's 14,100 employees by the end of 2011.


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