Windows 7 Earns High Marks from Businesses: Survey

Windows 7 is being favorably rated by businesses more than a year after the operating system's release, according to a new analyst report.

Microsoft's Windows 7 has earned positive reviews from enterprise workers, according to a new analyst survey.

Research firm ITIC and analyst Roger Kay of EndPoint Technologies surveyed more than 400 companies about their Windows 7 experience. Of those companies, some 73 percent rated Windows 7 as "excellent," "very good," or "good." Around 3 percent called the operating system "poor" or "unsatisfactory."

According to ITIC analyst Laura DiDio's Nov. 10 research note, that number is "very close to the 80 percent majority of beta and early adopters who gave Windows 7 the same high marks in the 2009 survey."

Some 72 percent of respondents either planned to deploy Windows 7 or had done so already. Another 7 percent said it was "unlikely" they would upgrade to the operating system. The remaining 21 percent indicated that "lack of funds" had led to "no definitive plans" to upgrade to Windows 7 over the next 12 months.

By comparison, some 90 percent of respondents had Windows XP present in some capacity. And Apple had a significant presence in businesses' IT infrastructure, as well

"Apple's Mac OS is the most popular non-Windows operating system, as mainstream enterprises continue to adopt it," DiDio wrote. "According to our poll, Macs are present in 28 percent of networks, which is over three times more than the two most popular Linux and open source operating system distributions." The poll found 9 percent of respondents using Red Hat Linux and Ubuntu.

Around 240 million Windows 7 licenses have sold to date, according to Microsoft. That has helped boost the company's quarterly revenues, which most recently topped $16.20 billion.

According to analytics firm Net Applications, Windows 7 currently occupies some 17.10 percent of the OS market, behind Windows XP at 60.03 percent and ahead of Windows Vista at 13.35 percent. However, the rise in both cloud computing and mobile devices-including tablets and smartphones-threatens to challenge the PC operating system's lock as the primary IT user-interface for both businesses and consumers.

When asked about his company's riskiest bet at October's Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2010, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said: "The next release of Windows."

Rumors circulating about that next version, often referred to as "Windows 8," suggest that it will incorporate features such as ultra-fast boot times, the use of facial recognition for logins, a "Microsoft Store" for downloading apps, and fuller cloud integration.

In November 2009, the Website Microsoft Kitchen published a leaked deck of slides, supposedly shown by Microsoft during that year's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles, which suggested Windows 8 would see release in 2012. But Microsoft, perhaps understandably, has remained tight-lipped about its future plans for Windows-locking down a release date for the next version could spook those businesses deploying Windows 7 now.