Directions on Microsoft has created for its subscribers a 40-page report, "Windows 7: An OS for Business."
The October release of Windows 7 creates an interesting dynamic. While every OS release from Redmond elicits the observation that the majority of businesses will not roll it out until after the first service pack is released, while coordinating with hardware refreshes, this go-around is a bit different. Windows 7, while designated a major release by Microsoft, is seen as more of an important update, according to Directions' Michael Cherry. It's taking care of the major compatibility and performance issues that plagued Vista, without the major underlying overhaul.
That being said, Gartner's Michael Silver says plenty of enterprises are ready to move forward with Windows 7 without hesitation, but Cherry warns that there's a problem this year -- the economy. Even though upgrades from XP should be relatively painless, and moves from Vista eagerly anticipated, based on Cherry's testing, too many companies are strapped for the funds to replace hardware.
Even Microsoft's tight communication with OEMs during development may not have been enough to overcome shrunken IT budgets, at least until economic conditions for 2010 become more clear.
In any case, the economy is a challenge that Microsoft can't overcome on its own, but measurable improvements in its newest OS are a different story. Reports like the one from Directions are important in creating a bit of momentum as Microsoft makes its argument that Windows 7 has the simplifications and features that businesses need -- and that can justify hardware upgrades.