IT Users: Wait and See on XP

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2001-08-27 Print this article Print

Many buyers will wait until they purchase their hardware before upgrading to newest Windows OS

As Microsoft Corp. last week released the final code for Windows XP to PC makers, corporate customers did not appear as excited about the operating system as the company would probably like.

Many IT buyers contacted by eWeek are either still evaluating the product—with a plan to upgrade in the future—or have decided to wait until they buy new hardware.

Robert Rice, a computer consultant in Salt Lake City, said, "As far as I can tell, XP does not bring to the table any significant technology that would revolutionize software the way Windows 95 did." The systems in Rices office are mostly running Windows 98 or Windows 2000. "We have no plans to upgrade until we buy new PCs, which wont be for a while, as we replaced them all due to Y2K concerns," he said, adding that most software will be compatible with current systems for years to come.

Rice, who runs Windows 98 on his desktop and laptop, has "no interest in upgrading until I buy a new system, or until the dust settles on XP and it can be fairly and objectively determined if such an upgrade is worth the cost."

"In addition, there is likely to be a later version with many patches, so I wouldnt even waste my time until Im sure the bugs are worked out," he said.

John Persinger, an internal network administrator for Dominion Solutions Inc., in Roanoke, Va., said he feels much the same way. His company primarily runs Windows NT servers and is evaluating its options on the workstation side. "The low-grade systems running 95/98 are likely to move to NT Workstation over the next few months," he said. "Those already using Workstation will remain as they are, and when new machines are added or old ones are upgraded, we will move to 2000."

Dominion has some 200 desktops and 13 servers but, as a solution provider, has placed hundreds elsewhere. "XP is tricky for us in that our needs are met by what we currently have," he said. "With the economy as it is, we want to be cautious where we place our funds. Until a clear need is shown for XP, we have no plans to integrate it."

Dominion has, however, approved a few testing systems loaded with XP. The company believes that access to the newest operating systems and applications should be available for study by its engineers without a corporatewide implementation, Persinger said.

Andre Jennings, an enterprise security manager in Atlanta, is far more upbeat about XP. "We have more than 1,500 users and are currently using NT Workstation 4.0 as the corporate standard," Jennings said. "We are looking at [Windows 2000 Professional] and XP Pro. I have had Windows XP [Release Candidate 2] up and running for quite some time and havent encountered a blue screen of death yet. ... We plan on upgrading when we start to refresh the corporate standard in January. XP is a great product."

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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