The largest opponent to Windows Vista in the business market is not Leopard. Nor does its name contain “Hat.” There is no “U” nor “K” in its name. The name is Windows XP, and it is a large force in the enterprise market.
Businesses have spent years now standardizing on Windows XP (some places still even use Windows 2000). The hardware and software incompatibilities introduced in Windows Vista, coupled with its enormous hardware requirements (2 GB minimum recommended RAM and so forth) are hampering business adoption, and causing many companies to abandon deployment plans they made before Vista’s release.
XP will eventually get pushed aside by Vista, but the question is when, and how, it will happen. From what I’ve seen of Vista, it’s no great shakes over XP (in fact, I like XP’s interface a lot better), and with 10% to 40% of business software inventories incompatible with the new OS, I don’t see any way the switch can happen anytime soon.
There’s also a chance that users will hold out with XP until the release of Windows 7 (codenamed “Blackcomb” and then “Vienna”). Some businesses follow an “every other release” upgrade schedule, which would leave Vista skipped over. Many business customers are so enamored with their XP setups that Microsoft might even feel obligated to extend mainstream support for XP past its current end date, in April 2009. I certainly wouldn’t object; I like XP. Now getting developers to continue writing software the XP can run, that’s another issue, but if the switch-over rate continues to be low, it should take care of itself.
The two articles I read (that inspired this post) were heartening to read, because I really have no great love for Vista at all. I’ve seen it, I’ve looked at the visual stylings and heard about the disaster that is UAC; and I’ve decided that it’s just too ugly and bug-ridden to even consider using. Right now, if anyone tries to force Vista on me, they’re getting nowhere; I’m sticking with XP, if I have to wipe the hard drive and install it myself. My dad has a copy I could use if it came to that, and by golly I would. If Windows 7 is any better than Vista, Microsoft will have reversed one of their worst design choices in history. If it retains the eye-hurting UI, I’m switching to Linux.