Where Does This Leave VARs?

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print

Vista never did live up to its own hype, but the OS is actually doing pretty well, analysts say.


Where does this leave VARs, then?  Unfortunately, Cherry believes there aren't good opportunities for VARs to help customers upgrade to Vista, especially if those customers plan to run Vista on hardware bought before the OS was released.

"Because those machines do not have the capabilities to run Vista well, it's not going to be a good experience," he says. Of course, there's always the opportunity to help those struggling customers downgrade, as many OEMs are offering XP downgrade kits with newly purchased hardware.

But Cherry says the real channel opportunity comes when resellers offer properly configured hardware with sufficient processor, memory and graphics resources to run Vista, and build in management and maintenance on top of those systems.

"If the channel integrates machines that have the resources to run Vista, then it'll be a great sale opportunity for them and a good experience for the end customer," Cherry says. 

Another reason for Vista's lackluster numbers could just be a matter of prioritizing.  Cherry says IT departments have a lot on their plates right now, and that while organizations may decide to migrate to Vista in the future, a desktop refresh may not top priority lists this year. IDC's report says Windows Vista won't accelerate companies' decisions to replace existing Windows XP Pro and Windows 2000 Pro, but will simply function as a slow, necessary "evolution" in corporate OS technology.

And when IT departments do decide to engage with their reseller to upgrade, it most likely won't happen all at once.

"They're never going to replace 100 percent of all machines in a company in a single year," Cherry says.  If a typical desktop refresh takes five or six years, then in 2008 only  one-fifth or one-sixth of the entire install base is upgrading, which could contribute to flat upgrade numbers.

A Vista user himself, Cherry adds that while a lot of Vista's upgrades amount to "flash and glitz," there's nothing inherently awful about the OS, and it's simply difficult to hype features and motivate customers to upgrade early when the OS market is so mature.

"Sure, there are arbitrary changes, there are things about it I don't like," Cherry says. "They've moved different [functions and options] to what I consider strange places, but … that's so subjective. That's not reason to say it's a bad OS."

Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

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