'Vista Effect' Ruined by 'XP Effect'

Kachina Shaw

It's back to school time: Get your XP machines ready for the dorm room, says the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That's just one example from this week of continued reluctance by organizations and consumers to make the switch to Vista, either because of satisfaction with XP, or because Vista testing is not complete.


The XP effect is in full bloom: Redmondmag.com reports that last week's Microsoft Q4 earnings call included a revision of Vista revenue from 85 percent to 78 percent of desktop OS revenue in FY2008, while XP's percentage was raised from 15 percent to 22 percent.


Gartner says in a press release on 2007 PC shipments, "our market data suggest Vista has had very limited impact on PC demand or replacement activity."


After blaming low interest in Vista on a lowered profit forecast last month, computer maker Acer this week renewed its complaints about the OS's market weakness, with President Gianfranco Lanci saying that his whole industry is mired in disappointment.


HP, Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba are offering XP machines -- and sales are good.


OK, you get the point. But to make the situation more pathetic, Microsoft made statements at a sales conference last week indicating that it anticipates releasing its next desktop OS in 2010. Windows 7, previously codenamed Vienna, will come out in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and in consumer and business editions, the company said.


Though a three-year run-up to Windows 7 might indicate to novices that continuing to wait to upgrade until that OS is available just makes sense, three years of OS development time in Microsoft years is probably five or more. As Gartner VP Michael Silver points out at CIO Today, that wait time, plus testing time of 18 months or more, makes skipping an OS pretty difficult, at least for enterprise customers.


Still, on the timing of pushing Windows 7 info out to the press, we have to ask, who are the marketing geniuses who came up with this idea?

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