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'Vista Bounce' More Like a Thud So Far

Remember the good ol' days of November 2006? When Microsoft blasted Vista out the door to eager enterprise customers, and partners awaited the windfall that the new operating system was sure to bring? Well, just like Chicago Cubs fans wondering when their loyalty will pay off with a World Series title after nearly a century of frustration, partners are waiting for Vista to start making the cash registers ring. It isn't happening yet.

In fairness, partners probably have a better shot at profiting from Vista than the Cubs have had of winning a World Series over the last century or so. Just this week, more news came out about how Vista is making strides, eating up market share from competitors and making slow but steady progress on its beloved in-house rival, XP.

Still, talk -- and statistics -- are cheap, and upgrading to Vista isn't. And as Rich Freeman notes in a feature story in the August issue of RCP, companies don't yet seem ready to pony up the cash to move to the new OS. That means that partners aren't really profiting from Vista the way that some had thought that they might.

Nevertheless, there doesn't seem to be much panic in the channel about Vista. Partners, after all, understand how these things work -- companies are reticent to move to anything new from Microsoft (or any vendor, really) right off the bat. Some customers will wait for SP1, others for planned infrastructure upgrades. The hope in the channel has to be now that customers won't wait for the post-Vista version of Windows (supposedly due in 2010) before upgrading. But three years is a long time, and we wouldn't lay money on Microsoft actually getting the next version of Windows out the door by 2010.

Even if there's no panic in the channel, though, there is disappointment -- with the hassle of XP downgrade rights and the simple notion that something as massive (and massively hyped) as Vista should have dropped a few extra coins into partners' coffers by now. Then there's the seemingly prevailing feeling that Vista just isn't that good...a topic we've hit on more than a few times in this space by now.

Microsoft partners have fared considerably better than Cubs fans over the years, and they probably will in this case, too. But, for now, both groups are in limbo with a shaky product that might or might not really pan out, especially in the short-term. For a partner channel accustomed to something more of a New York Yankees-level of success, Vista -- not unlike the Yankees themselves this year -- has to be a disappointment so far.

We've received tons of comments about Vista over the last few months. We'll run some more tomorrow. Keep them coming to [email protected].

Posted by Lee Pender on July 26, 2007


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