Users' Vista Experience Delays Windows 7 Adoption

A report released last week about IT managers' Windows 7 upgrade plans reveals that a large majority of IT staff do not intend to upgrade existing Windows machines to Windows 7 in the next year. Industry watchers estimate fall of 2009 will be the likely ship date for Windows 7; Microsoft has not confirmed timing yet.

"Windows 7 Adoption: A Survey of Technology Professionals", commissioned by systems management appliance company KACE and conducted by market research firm Dimensional Research, surveyed 1,100 IT professionals via e-mail.

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Though this is only one survey and only covers 1,000 or so users, it is still likely to be disheartening news for Microsoft that 84 percent of the respondents do not plan to upgrade their machines to Windows 7 in the next year. This kind of hesitation in the enterprise IT ranks could cause delays in the software giant's strategy to get users off the eight-year-old Windows XP and the embattled Windows Vista and on to Windows 7.

But survey results indicate that Windows 7 will suffer for the sins of Vista. The leading reason for resistance to Windows 7 adoption, according to the report, is Vista compatibility problems as well as "a negative public perception of Vista that seems to have helped build this layer of distrust with Windows 7," says Diane Hagglund, senior research analyst for Dimensional Research and author of the survey.

Some other concerns that IT professionals listed in the survey about moving to Windows 7: software compatibility, cost of implementation and the economic downturn. Another piece of data implies that many users will stick with Windows XP. A strong majority - 83 percent - said they are likely to skip Vista altogether and eventually migrate directly from XP to Windows 7.

Incidentally, XP's age does not seem to bother respondents, as 72 percent said they are more concerned about upgrading to Windows 7 than about staying with the outdated XP.

Probably the most surprising data from the survey: The number of IT professionals who are considering moving from Windows to alternatives such as Mac OS and Linux is on the rise. Fifty percent of respondents say they are considering such a move; that's up almost 10 percent from a similar survey conducted last July.

The methodology for the survey involved an e-mail survey sent in March, 2009 to IT professionals from small, mid-sized and large organizations worldwide. The 1,142 respondents were not paid for participation and come from a range of IT responsibilities, including hands-on professionals, team managers and business owners. Of those polled, 17 percent indicated they have installed the Windows 7 Beta.

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