Businesses bail on Vista

Many IT managers are steering their companies away from Microsoft’s latest Vista operating system and preferring to stick with its older XP product, a new survey shows.

Research firm IBRS spoke to more than 60 IT managers in Australian businesses and organisations in the first quarter of this year to find their attitudes to the much maligned Vista product.

More than 75% of IT managers said they have chosen not to upgrade the systems under their control to Vista and plan to stay with XP for at least another year.

And even among the small proportion that do plan to make the switch to Vista, 65% say they are planning to install the operating system on less than a quarter of their organisation’s computers.

Paul Wallbank, the founder of IT support business PC Rescue and SmartCompany’s Business Tech Talk blogger, says he is unsurprised IT managers are reluctant to switch to Vista.

“There is just no clear business case for moving on to Vista. For most businesses the benefits – and there are some – don’t make up for the compatibility problems and costs involved in upgrading software and hardware,” Wallbank says.

Many businesses have experienced problems running older software on Vista machines, requiring them to fork out significant cash for newer versions.

“A lot of smaller businesses had a nasty awakening – Quicken is a classic example. That version that was on the shelves when Vista was released didn’t run with it and a lot of SMEs were really upset with that,” Wallbank says.

Businesses that run custom software can also struggle with Vista, and must often spend large sums on development to ensure compatibility.

On the plus side, Wallbank says, Vista provides significantly improved security for IT systems and some improved user interface features.

The bottom line, however, is that those improvements are outweighed by the potential costs involved with the operating system.

“There is a lot of resistance at all levels, from micro-businesses to large enterprises, because of the compatibility issues and they don’t want to have to fork out large amounts on new hardware and software until they have to,” he says.


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