Microsoft has released a preview release candidate for Windows Vista SP1 to a large group of beta testers.
The software maker released the first, private Vista SP1 beta to some 12,000 pre-selected testers in September. At that time, it also promised a larger public beta was in the cards but declined to say when it would be available.
The RC preview beta, which was released late Nov. 14 and includes changes to the setup and installation experience made as a result of tester feedback, was made available to 15,000 pre-selected beta testers, just 3,000 more than the first beta.
Microsoft now plans to make a Vista SP1 release candidate available to a broader group of testers in the near future, the company said in a statement that gave no additional details except to say it was still targeting the first quarter of 2008 to release SP1 to manufacturing.
To read more about the first beta for Vista SP1, click here.
Even though Microsoft has downplayed the impact that SP1 is likely to have on business adoption of Windows Vista, analysts maintain that it is the key to turning around what has been extremely slow adoption by businesses of the new operating system.
Directions on Microsoft analyst Michael Cherry said he expects evaluations to pick up based on SP1 and said that if organizations find value there, deployments should increase.
Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group, said that while some enterprises have reported problems with the initial version of Vista, early reports on SP1 indicate that many of their issues have been addressed. "Corporate adoption should start to pick up in 2008 if SP1 continues to perform well in tests," he said.
A report released Nov. 12 by Forrester Research put enterprise adoption of Vista at just 2 percent to date but said that nearly half of the 1,001 enterprises it surveyed have concrete plans to deploy the operating system.
"Many are waiting for news on SP1, which Microsoft has confirmed will be released in Q1 of 2008," Forrester analyst Benjamin Gray said in the report.
Read more here about why desktop Linux is a credible threat to Windows.
Some 7 percent of enterprises will have started their deployments by the end of 2007, with 32 percent doing so by the end of 2008 and another 17 percent deploying it in 2009 or beyond, the Forrester report said.
Even Michael Burk, senior product manager with Microsofts Windows client team, has acknowledged to eWEEK that Vista is still in the early phase of business adoption.
"It took years for Windows XP to become the prevailing operating system used by businesses, and it will take time for Vista to supplant XP. That said, there are some good indicators that we may be nearing an inflection point for Windows Vista to start to be adopted by the mainstream of businesses," he said.
Adding to Microsofts Vista deployment woes is the fact that Linux is becoming a credible threat to Windows on the desktop and will grow over the next year as its distributors continue to make it an enterprise-class offering, Gray said. "The high volume of client inquiries for Linux on the desktop clearly indicates its not going away any time soon," he said.
To read more about why businesses are still in no rush to upgrade to Windows Vista, click here.
The most common reasons corporations have given eWEEK for not upgrading to Windows Vista include the cost of replacing the new hardware required to run Vista optimally; the fact that some of the software they use is still not compatible with Vista; that the operating systems new and increased functionality and security features are more trouble than they are worth; and that Windows XP still meets their needs.
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