Will XP SP3 Slow Vista's Adoption?

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2008-02-20 Print this article Print

Analysts say that the more secure, stable and reliable Windows XP is, the less reason businesses have to upgrade to Vista in a hurry.

The upcoming release of Windows XP Service Pack 3 will further slow the rate of business adoption of Windows Vista by extending the life of the older operating system, some analysts say.

Microsoft quietly released Windows XP Service Pack 3 Release Candidate 2 to the masses Feb. 19. But the company finds itself in a Catch-22, given its need to provide comprehensive security to protect its large installed base of business customers still running XP while, at the same time, encouraging those customers to upgrade to the new Vista operating system.

But the more secure, stable and reliable XP is, the less reason they have to upgrade in a hurry.

"XP SP3 does lengthen the useful life of XP. People don't like to move, particularly IT folks, and anything that makes it so they don't feel they have to move will be well received and delay that move," Rob Enderle, the principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told eWeek.

In addition, Windows XP is now on its third service patch and by any measure very mature, while Vista is only reaching its initial level of acceptable maturity with SP1, which is expected to be released in March, Enderle said.

Michael Cherry, the lead analyst for Windows at Directions on Microsoft agrees, saying that many customers are quite satisfied with Windows XP and that the release of a third service pack should only increase its stability and reliability. 

"It also seems to run on older hardware-being less resource dependent than Vista is.  Therefore it would appear many customers could be quite happy to stay with Windows XP for some time," he said.

XP SP3 will also make support easier, and it could be the delivery vehicle for some new features such as support for the Network Access Protection client that works with Windows Server 2008, Cherry said.

Microsoft declined to comment.

While Chris Swenson, the director of software industry analysis for the NPD Group does not agree that XP SP3 is likely to slow down the adoption of Vista, he does acknowledge that the many businesses with older PCs will roll out SP3.

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 www.eweek.com.


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