Vista Reignites Visions of Past Releases

By Pedro Pereira  |  Print this article Print


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Opinion: The recently discovered Vista "crack" ensures the kinds of headlines Microsoft wants to avoid and is likely to delay adoption.

One of the most overused adages in the IT industry is, "Change is the only constant." That is true in most contexts, but at Microsoft the more applicable cliché is, "The more things change, the more they remain the same."

I couldn't arrest an involuntary smirk when I started reading over the past few days about a "crack" in Windows Vista, Microsoft's much-ballyhooed new operating system.

Two reasons for my smirk: One, I am a Mac user as a result of a decision some 18 months ago that reduced my stress levels far more than my well-intentioned-but-all-too-infrequent jogs could ever accomplish, and I use a PC now only when it is inflicted on me. Two–and this one I am thankful for–this "crack," which some insist is a "virus" and others call a "worm," to me looks a lot more like an ongoing news story.

To read more about Vista, click here.

That's right, Microsoft is going to grab a fair number of headlines in the coming year, God bless it, and not necessarily in the way it had hoped. I can already hear the echoes of past releases reverberating through news sites, blogs and techie bulletin boards.

This "crack" is only the beginning. Because history always repeats itself, more cracks, frustrations, irritations and good old-fashioned cursing will surely follow.

From a channel standpoint, this initial "crack," and whatever may follow by way of usability issues, security threats and compatibility frustrations, should cause solution and service providers to tread very carefully when recommending Vista.

Not that they are getting too many chances to do that. As of yet, channel companies report that the demand for Microsoft's new operation system is next to nil. However, at least one successful deployment has taken place–at Virgin Megastores – and the client reports they are pleased with the results.

The "crack" is unfortunate, though. It has the potential to delay Vista deployments even more than what already is expected. Hardware requirements and questions over compatibility and security are causing potential corporate adopters to take their time before plunging into Vista.

Half of all PCs used in business currently in North America do not meet Vista requirements, according to research company Softchoice. And notebooks, sales of which are expected to surpass desktops as soon as 2008, are harder to upgrade.

That means many, many laptops already in use cannot handle Vista and, rather than pay for costly upgrades, businesses are likely to delay migration to the new operating system to whenever their next hardware buying cycle comes around.

Of course, Microsoft would have us believe that Vista will trigger a business boon starting in 2007. A study by IDC that Microsoft commissioned predicts every $1 Microsoft makes with Vista will generate $18 for the ecosystem supporting Vista deployments. The study further projected that Vista-related employment will reach 18 percent of IT employment in the United States during the first year of shipment.

Click here to view exclusive channel research from Amazon Consulting.

Methinks the study paints a far rosier Vista scenario than we are likely to see, with all due respect to my friends at IDC, who do fantastic work.

As the New Year starts, a host of popular applications, including some from Microsoft itself, remains incompatible with Vista. Getting everything to hum will last through a good chunk of 2007.

Undeniably, Vista will ultimately be good for business in the channel. The question is when. And that, of course, is nothing new.

Pedro Pereira is editor of eWEEK Strategic Partner and contributing editor to The Channel Insider. He can be reached at ppereira@ziffdavis.com.


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