Microsoft Blasts Forrester’s ‘Sensational’ Anti-Vista Report

Forrester Research has unleashed a bit of ire from Microsoft with an analyst report suggesting large corporations might do well to sit out the Vista era of Windows.

Analyst Thomas Mendel’s July 23 report on enterprise trends contained a brief mention of Vista, comparing it to “New Coke” — Coca-Cola’s disastrous reformulation of its namesake product in 1985. Public outcry forced the company to backtrack and reintroduce the old drink.

“Here’s a tip,” Mendel wrote. “Consider following the lead of Microsoft’s most important partner Intel and re-evaluating the case for Vista.”

Only 8.8 percent of enterprise computers were running Vista as of June, up from 6.2 percent in January, according to the report. XP was the most prevalent OS, running on 87.1 percent of the 50,000 desktops included in the survey.

Don’t Even Try This at Home?

Mendel’s report suggests waiting for the next release of Vista, scheduled for 2010, or even possibly an enterprise-worthy offering from Apple.

The report contradicts fellow analyst Ben Gray’s suggestion in April that large companies begin considering a move to Vista. It also comes as Microsoft is hard at work on a new multifaceted campaign to overcome the perception that Vista is too troubled for even individuals to adopt, much less corporations.

So perhaps it comes as no surprise that Microsoft Vista blogger Chris Flores, a director on the Windows Client Communications Team, blasted Forrester — saying the company was “getting schizophrenic” by offering such wildly differing opinions.

“Given that there’s a mountain of evidence to refute this report — including multiple reports from Forrester and other top-tier analysts — this appears to be more focused on making sensationalist statements, rather than offering a thoughtful industry perspective, based on conversations with IT operations professionals or deep knowledge of enterprise deployment cycles,” Flores wrote in his blog two days later.

Microsoft spokesperson Katie Bookey directed TechNewsWorld’s query about the Forrester report to Flores’ blog and said the company had nothing further to say.

Gearing for the End of XP

Microsoft has a point in arguing back, Gartner VP Distinguished Analyst Michael Silver told TechNewsWorld. The product’s press, he said, is much worse than the product itself.

Large organizations should at least partially migrate to Vista, Silver recommended, if for no other reason than to save themselves the headache of trying to make a massive switch early in Windows 7’s life cycle.

“For most organizations, that would be too big, too labor intensive,” he observed. “Skipping Vista really paints big organizations into a corner.”

One sensible approach, he suggested, would be to outfit new boxes with Vista, leaving only older machines in need of an upgrade when application support for XP begins to peter out, probably around 2012.

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