Of course, the uncertain economic situation represents an elephant in the room that companies are trying not to get trampled by. This is reflected in Windows 7 projections from IDC, which estimates that Windows 7 shipments will reach 40 million by the end of the year. However, IDC predicts that over 177 million copies of Windows 7 will be in place by the end of 2010 worldwide, with 60 million of those in the U.S.
Despite recent glimmers of hope, many organizations are avoiding major expenditures like a trip to the dentist, which suggests that Windows 7 on new PCs might not happen right away.
"The economy is probably going to delay widespread Windows 7 adoption until next year," said Travis Fisher, executive vice president at Inacom Information Systems, a Salisbury, Md.-based solution provider.
Inacom recommends that clients adhere to a five-year PC lifecycle, but Microsoft has been pushing a three-year refresh cycle, according to Fisher, who noted that in the five-year scenario, about 20 percent of customers are ready to upgrade in any given year. "Microsoft would like to see that increase significantly, and they're going to end up spending a huge premium in terms of market to accelerate that," Fisher said.
Although smaller organizations will move to Windows 7 on new hardware, larger ones with homogeneous XP environments that introduce Windows 7 machines will have to deal with the challenges of managing mixed environments, says Steve Bohman, vice president of operations at Columbus Micro, a Columbus, Ohio-based system builder.
The good news for Microsoft is that Vista adoption in businesses has been slowly growing over time. Forrester estimates Windows Vista had an 11.9 percent share of the corporate desktop market at the end of March, compared to 7.3 percent in June 2008. These firms will have a smooth upgrade path to Windows 7 since Vista and Windows 7 share much of the same underlying code.
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