Microsoft Says Windows 7 Making Enterprise Headway

Microsoft says a growing number of employees who are still stuck using Windows XP are demanding that their companies give them Windows 7.

Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft senior director of Windows product management, says this trend, which has been given the somewhat obtuse label "consumerization of IT," is helping to move the needle on Windows 7 adoption in the enterprise. "Employees asking for Windows 7 has been a huge accelerator for adoption within their organizations," Schuster said in a recent interview.

Windows 7 adoption has been making impressive progress despite the headwinds of a still-chilly IT spending climate. When Microsoft launched Windows 7 last October, IDC said 50 percent of customers said they planned to deploy it within the subsequent 12 to 18 months. IDC recently re-ran that survey and found that 89 percent of customers have already deployed Windows 7 or plan to have plans to do so.

"The momentum around Windows 7 is high," said Schuster. "Even in the lower end of the market that's served by system builders, customers are tuned in to the need to move to Windows 7."

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Although some companies are still clinging stubbornly to Windows XP, from a security threat standpoint this is like swimming in shark infested waters while wearing a seal costume. XP-using companies also can't take full advantage of virtualization or cloud computing, and thus can't tap into the significant cost savings they provide.

Next: Cost savings that Windows 7 makes possible

Windows 7 also provides cost savings to companies from easier deployment, management and support. Microsoft's internal research with large enterprise partners has shown that companies can save an average of $140 per PC annually from deploying Windows 7, with an average return on investment of 131 percent during the first year after deployment, Rich Reynolds, general manager of Windows commercial marketing at Microsoft, said in a Wednesday blog post.

Windows 7 hit its one-year anniversary last month and Microsoft says it has sold more than 240 million licenses for the OS thus far. That's a lofty figure, but many of these licenses are being sold through Enterprise Agreements and so it's impossible to verify how many are actually being used.

Given the prevalence of Windows XP in businesses, Microsoft still has more work to do to convince its business customers to shed their short term thinking and make the long term investment in deploying Windows 7.