Windows 7 could be the impetus for businesses to start upgrading PCs again. The new operating system will repair major problems enterprise users had with Vista when it was released nearly three years ago, according to industry analysts.
The Windows 7: An OS for Businesses report from Directions on Microsoft, which will be released early next month, will outline how Windows 7 addresses concerns business users had with Vista, such as poor application compatibility, poor device-driver support and other limitations, which could inspire companies to free up the money they need to upgrade to the new OS. The research firm this week released some analysis that will be in the soon-to-be-released report, written by Directions on Microsoft analyst Mike Cherry with help from analysts Paul DeGroot and Matt Rosoff.
Microsoft executives have acknowledged over the past year or so in public appearances that the company has made a concerted effort to address complaints business users in particular had with Vista. Many companies opted to skip Vista and wait for Windows 7, keeping employees on XP. The worldwide recession also affected PC and software upgrade cycles, causing businesses to do the best with what they had rather than make new purchases.
Rob Helm, research director at Directions on Microsoft, said it's going to be increasingly expensive for companies to continue to use XP because of fees associated with supporting such an old OS, so an upgrade from that OS to Windows 7 is "a question of when," not if.
For its part, Microsoft realizes that Windows 7 is an important release not only to get businesses to spend money again, but also to restore their confidence in the OS, he said.
"Microsoft's biggest business is Windows and its most profitable segment for Windows is businesses," Helm said. "It would dearly love to restart business PC sales and get businesses to move up to the most expensive editions of Windows. I think Windows 7 has the potential to help unblock that [spending] holding pattern when the economy recovers."