Vista Still Getting Mixed Reviews

Windows Vista is now on the migration map for most enterprise customers, at least according to one researcher. But it's still getting hammered in the media.

Case in point: John Dvorak, the noted tech curmudgeon/columnist, has had it up to here with Vista. So much so, he's threatening to dump Windows altogether.

The problem with Vista? Dvorak cites the price -- which many agree is inflated. Also the overabundance of versions makes the purchase decision needlessly complicated.

He says Microsoft has taken its eye off the prize. Why? One word, Dvorak says: Google.

"Much of this mess, I strongly believe, is due to Microsoft's recent obsession with Google and online search. Now Microsoft wants to be in the advertising business because Google is in the advertising business. Meanwhile, it can't do its real job," he wrote. Others agreed.

That's akin to the mountain going to Mohammed. Dvorak is definitely a Windows guy, not a Linux or Mac head. Now he's threatening (kind of) to jump ship.

On the plus side, from Microsoft's point of view, corporations are starting to weave Vista into their future infrastructure plans, at least according to one market researcher. As of now, two percent of the desktops in 600 organizations surveyed by Forrester Research are running Vista.

That number sounds paltry, but coming within a year of official release, it isn't bad, according to Forrester analyst Benjamin Gray. Vista was generally available at the end of January, although enterprise accounts had access a month or so earlier.

Gray said companies weighing a move from Windows XP or earlier versions had some big factors to consider.

"Vista had some pretty serious hardware requirements and companies sitting down with the roadmap stumbled on a few things. First, [for a long time] there was limited information on Service Pack 1. Companies view SP1 Microsoft's blessing that the OS is complete. They were awaiting word on that. Now that they know it's coming [in the first quarter of 2008], they will get more serious about upgrading," Gray told Redmond Developer News.

Companies have to test their line-of-business applications on the new operating system and if there are compatibility issues make decisions there as well, he noted. That process can take six to 12 months with some companies, even budgeting up to 18 months to fully check out their custom applications.

"If they are not compatible they will have to be updated through Windows update or through other ISVs," Gray said.

Many users and the developers supporting them are not sure what the big benefit of Vista is over Windows XP, especially as many of the features promised for Vista (when it was to be part of Longhorn) are now being pulled forward to Windows XP.

Gray says Vista's biggest advantage over XP is in security and security management, which is important for IT departments.

"There are also some very nice usability, user experience things. But the biggest driver is simply to stay current with Microsoft support," he said.

About the Author

Barbara Darrow is RDN’s industry editor.