Windows XP Remains the Dominant Business OS. What’s Next?

By  |  Monday, February 2, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Windows XP LogoWindows Vista has been available for over two years now, but Windows XP has proven its staying power.  It remains the dominant desktop operating system for businesses in Europe and North America, according to a new report by Forrester analyst Benjamin Gray.

While I’m hesitant to make any conclusions about a survey without reviewing its methodology, the findings mesh with similar research from other analysts. Gray surveyed IT managers–I don’t know how he defined the position–and found that Windows Vista was powering fewer than 10% of PCs within enterprises. Windows XP remained strong and steady with a 71% share of the market.

“While most IT managers are anticipating the struggle with managing their upcoming dual-OS environments of Windows XP and Windows Vista, some recognize it will only get worse as they are required to more broadly support Macs, Linux, and even consumer PCs as a result of Tech Populism’s impact on the client domain,” Gray wrote.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Windows Vista: thirty-one percent of respondents have begun to migrate to it. That finding led Forrester to predict that Windows Vista will be the OS that displaces Windows XP, despite interest in Windows 7.

My sense is that Microsoft is aiming Windows 7 most directly at consumers, not businesses. The changes Microsoft is making to the Windows Taskbar are long overdue, and well done, but business users might require training to work with it and other new features in the OS. Other changes, including more mellow User Account Control settings, also target home users.

Windows Vista is a fine OS for businesses. It got off to a rough start due largely to compatibility issues, but many of those issues were ironed out in Service Pack 1.

With Vista Service Pack 2’s release imminent, it is stable and reliable enough for businesses to migrate to. It also provides better support for many core applications and hardware than Windows XP does.

My take: If given a choose between the reasonably mature Windows Vista and a new, unproven OS such as Windows 7, any IT manager worth his or her salt would migrate to Vista and not skip a generation.

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  1. Mal Says:

    Hmm, and a year later Vista is dead, replaced by Windows 7 and XP still lives.
    Here's the thing, my problem with Vista and Windows 7 is that in order to run it I have to build an entirely new PC in order to get the same performance that I get out of my XP box.
    Any program that runs on both XP and Vista/7 runs faster on XP.

    So yeah it more secure and all that, but the bottom line is it's a resource hog.
    And that sir is a sign of sloppy code writing and design.