The latest quarterly IT spending survey from Merrill Lynch included some good news for the sector, and some surprisingly upbeat projections for Microsoft and its oft-delayed and increasingly maligned new OS, Windows Vista.
The number of execs who said they plan to upgrade to Vista in the next year nearly doubled in this survey, albeit to only 15 percent. Still, that's not all that bad in a culture where buyers instinctively want to wait for the first service pack of any software release before making a commitment.
The big difference may simply be the amount of exposure that Vista has received recently (well, that and a broad beta release). Back in April, 75 percent of survey respondents said they were worried about Vista launch dates; that number in the new survey was about 40 percent, despite persistent rumors about yet another Vista slip.
As recently as this June, Merrill Lynch was reporting that U.S. CIOs planned to only slightly increase spending over the following 12 months, but the most recent survey indicates a little more confidence in the economy. A significant projected slowdown is in security spending; this may be attributable in part to the built-in security features that Microsoft has used as the main pitch points for Vista.