UK IT professionals are giving Windows 7 a guarded welcome, with concerns about quality, cost and compatibility tempering their enthusiasm for Microsoft’s new operating system.
Microsoft is not expecting a wholesale upgrade rush by its enterprise customers and UK IT organisations are not likely to buck the software giant’s expectations.
IT professionals who spoke to ComputerworldUK are mainly on XP and are happy with it. Most will move to Windows 7 only as part of their normal refresh cycle. They have been frustrated by the quality of Vista, which has driven some to alternative operating systems.
Mark Gawley, IT manager Worthing Borough Council said, “We use Windows XP, which was easy to use and to manage as a department. We avoided Vista because of compatibility problems with our hardware and applications. Also because of the different look and feel – this can create a need for extra training.
“On Windows 7, I’m reserving judgement. The big issues could be around compatibility, training costs, and carrying out a mass upgrade.
“Our users would appreciate the quick start up features that are promised. We want it to be user friendly and easy to support as an IT department. Also, we’re weighing up moving to a thin client setup, so we’d need to make that decision before changing the operating systems.”
Shawn Scott, IT technical strategy and security manager at Burberry said, “We’re excited about Windows 7. We’re mainly XP, and we were looking at Vista for some users.”
“If we moved to use (Windows 7), we’d do it as a global rollout. It wouldn’t be tied to hardware; I understand Windows 7 is quite downward compatible.”
“What I want from an OS is compatibility with our hardware and applications, and also the interface with Apple Macs because we’re a design house.”
Abbot Datastore provides both physical and IT storage and runs on XP. It has been downgrading new kit from Vista to XP, according to IT manager Kevin Rees. “I wish Microsoft software would stay as it is for longer, there are always compatibility issues with our applications. We have a lot of in-house applications, we’d need to know they worked on Windows 7 before any change,” he said.
Like Rees, Steve Mecrow, a senior project manager at security firm G4S, wanted fewer changes in Microsoft products. “The problem with Windows is Microsoft makes too many changes each time they release a new version, and they make the software too complicated. They give you lots of features you don’t need. You end up having to upgrade hardware to cope with it.”
G4S uses XP and saw Vista as “an unnecessary challenge,”, Mecrow said. “We may refresh to Windows 7 when we’re ready, but there’s no rush.”
Peter Such, owner of printing and web production firm Peter Such Enterprises said, “Windows 7 sounds like it is so different from Vista. The problems with Vista played a part in me moving to a Mac environment, I can do so much more in it and have fewer security worries.”