Microsoft is hard at work trying to make Vista sales look good to the shareholders and uphold an image of a successful launch. The truth of the matter is that Vista sales are so embarrassing that they even instructed all resellers and OEMs to stop offering PCs with XP starting end of 2007. To me that looks a bit like a desperate move on Microsoft's part, as they simply force these resellers and OEMs to shove Windows Vista down their customers throats, whether they like it or not. But how about corporate clients? As thatís where the real revenues are usually made. In a previous column
I mentioned that large corporations upgrading their PCs to Windows Vista would be a system administratorís nightmare.
Well, that might have been a bit of an understatement, because when taking a closer look at the installed hardware base of larger corporations things are looking more than a bit grim for Microsoft's Vista. The simple problem is that the majority of PCs used in these corporations are a long way off from meeting Microsoft's recommended hardware requirements for Vista. No less than 25% did not even meet the minimum requirement of 512MB of memory and 15GB of free disk space. Obviously these machines ran Windows XP just fine and without issues. Overall no less than 75% of all machines did not make the recommended requirements, which is the bulk of all corporate PCs.
Many a hardware manufacturer must be salivating at the mouth by reading these figures, as the potential revenues generated by upgrading or replacing these PCs is huge, so I cannot really blame them, that is a spectacular business opportunity. But just as with any business opportunity there is a demand that needs to come before the supply. Now it so happens that Vista is in ample supply, but the demand is lacking. That is not surprising, as on the surface Vista does not look to offer anything substantial over XP, but even when looking a bit closer Vista is hard pressed to be more than an incremental upgrade over XP.
One of the biggest obstacles as mentioned above however is the simple fact that the majority of PCs that work fine with XP do not meet the Vista Ready requirement and thus are all obsoleted in one fell swoop. Hence the costs of getting these PCs into compliance with Microsoft's requirements will be a huge obstacle to Vista adoption, especially for small and mid-sized corporations. The biggest problem being there is no real return on their investment, no upped efficiency, Windows XP will do anything that Vista can do with less of a hardware requirement and less overhead, thatís not much of a sales pitch I am afraid.