10 Predictions For Microsoft In 2008

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6. Vista service pack 1 won't spur Vista adoption like XP SP1 did with XP

2007 was full of negative press about Vista. And even after it releases Vista SP1, Microsoft will need to step up its efforts to demonstrate the business case for migrating to Vista, says Todd Swank, director of marketing for system builder and solution provider Nor-Tech, Burnsville, Minn.

But Swank predicts that Microsoft will be successful in its efforts to make a solid business case for its much maligned OS. "Next year, I think Microsoft will start showing the compelling features of Vista that will convince people to make the investment to switch," said Swank.

However, one solution provider who requested anonymity said that until businesses really start to see the benefits of moving to Vista, resistance to the OS will continue to be strong.

"Why would people want to switch to Vista when so many performance tests are showing they can get better performance from XP? It just doesn't make business sense to switch, and at this point, migrating to Vista is a big investment," the solution provider said.

Matt Scherocman, a director at PCMS IT Advisor, a Cincinnati-based Microsoft Gold partner, expects Vista SP1 to be an important milestone that will significantly increase Vista adoption. "However, I think most of the actual issues will be fixed by better OEM support from a driver perspective than will actually be fixed by the service pack," he said.

7. Companies still won't be ready to buy their security from Microsoft

Microsoft's less than stellar security reputation causes some solution providers to roll their eyes at any mention of the vendor's security offerings.

Partners have referred to Forefront as "a jumble of Microsoft security products" that's difficult to install and doesn't take into account integration with third party applications that a customer may have.

"We're still not viewing Forefront as a core security component for a company's infrastructure -- we still see it as being tangential in nature," said one solution provider who asked not to be named.

Another solution provider said the lack of a coherent roadmap for Forefront makes it tough to recommend to his customers. "Microsoft originally said they were taking Frontbridge on as a subsidiary, but then it started to get integrated in Exchange and the hosted service for Exchange spam filtering. It's almost like they digressed after the acquisition," said the source.

"The ironic thing is that the Frontbridge product, which became Forefront Security for Exchange Server, was a rock solid product before Microsoft acquired it," the source added.

Still, Microsoft has high hopes for its security business. At Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver in July, executives unveiled plans to invest $50 million in security related sales, marketing and partner training efforts.


NEXT: Will XP SP3 Be Delayed?

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