Windows 7 Is Helping Drive Tech Refresh, Says Dell

Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system, along with the recent release of Office 2010, is helping drive a tech refresh in the enterprise, says CEO Michael Dell. However, while Dell sees that refresh starting now, it's likely to take two years for large businesses to fully convert a PC fleet to Windows 7.

AUSTIN, Texas - The release of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system in 2009, along with the subsequent release of Office 2010, is helping to drive a corporate refresh among many enterprises, although it could take businesses years to fully switch from Windows XP, said CEO Michael Dell.

While speaking at the company's annual meeting with financial analysts June 24, Michael Dell said that large businesses are beginning to move toward Windows 7 and that is driving the long-awaited tech refresh. Still, Dell said it could take two years for large enterprises to move totally away from either Windows XP or Windows Vista.

"If you're talking about a client refresh, these companies are not likely to replace all their PCs next week or even next quarter," said Dell. "It requires a whole deployment plan and that is typically a two-year process."

Michael Dell said he had been talking directly with several large companies that are slowly moving their employees away from Windows XP. Most companies require a detailed plan to move away from XP to Windows 7 and most believe it's better to take their time rather than rush the change. However, Dell said the response to Windows 7 has been positive.

The Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is slated for release later this summer.

"I think the percentage base of commercially installed Windows 7 and Office 2010 is still a small percent," said Dell. "This is not a one quarter or two quarter event but it does give us a lot of confidence."

During his presentation, Michael Dell said the economy continues to improve and that companies, both small businesses and large enterprises, are beginning to reinvest in technology. For his part, Michael Dell said the company plans to focus on its commercial client business, as well as on new areas such as IT services.

"From a client standpoint, the message was the company understands that the market for clients is notably different today than it used to be and they're making the adjustments to make the company more profitable," said Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT Research. "There wasn't a lot of pie in the sky when it comes to talking about the tech refresh. The view of the market was very down to earth and it's a work in progress, but they are doing a lot right."