Forrester Calls Desktop Linux a Credible Threat to Windows

Nearly half of enterprises have concrete plans to deploy Windows Vista, and 7 percent will have started by Dec. 31.

Linux is becoming a credible threat to Windows on the desktop, and will grow over the next year as its distributors continue to work hard at making it an enterprise-class offering, research group Forrester predicts.

"Will desktop managers continue down the path of standardization on the Windows platform, and will Linux not exist on enterprise desktops? Not a chance," Forrester analyst Benjamin Gray says in a report released Nov. 12 and titled, "How Windows Vista Will Shake Up The State Of The Enterprise Operating System."

"The high volume of client inquiries for Linux on the desktop clearly indicates its not going away any time soon. Expect Linux to experience growth over the next year as the distributors work hard to make it an enterprise-class offering,"

But Windows Vista will be deployed across at least one-quarter of PCs in North American and European enterprises next year as desktop managers start moving away from the Windows XP platform, which will still run the majority of PCs within corporate environments, Gray predicts.


To read more about why businesses are still in no rush to upgrade to Windows Vista, click here.

The study was based on a survey of 1,001 hardware decision-makers at North American and European enterprises. Some 43 percent were from large businesses with between 1,000 and 4,999 employees; 35 percent were from very large enterprises of 5,000 to 19,999 staff, and 22 percent were from Global 2000 enterprises with 20,000 or more employees.

Nearly half of the enterprises surveyed said they have concrete plans to deploy Windows Vista, and 7 percent will have started their deployments by the end of 2007. That figure rises to 32 percent by the end of 2008, with another 17 percent planning to deploy Vista in 2009 or beyond.

But the report also acknowledges what everyone already knows: that Vista adoption within the enterprise has been extremely slow, currently standing at just 2 percent. "The era of Windows Vista within enterprises has officially started, with a whimper," Gray says in the report.


Read more here about Windows Vista SP1.

"But think of it as the snowflakes before the storm. Vista adoption has been cautious at best in the first six to eight months since its initial release, hovering at just 2 percent…North American and Global 2000 enterprises are leading the adoption with 3 percent of PCs currently running the operating system, while European enterprises have yet to begin deploying it. Many are waiting for news on SP1, which Microsoft has confirmed will be released in Q1 of 2008," he said

The study also says that while 90 percent of enterprises have become Windows XP shops, a surprising 9 percent remain Windows 2000 shops.

"The success of Windows Vista will largely be judged on the rate at which Windows XP shops upgrade to it, but, more immediately, Windows 2000 shops have essentially already hit this fork in the road. Will these enterprises make the jump straight to Windows Vista, or will they incrementally upgrade to Windows XP? And if they move to Windows XP, is it because theyre not yet ready to deploy Windows Vista or a calculated decision to avoid that operating system?" he asks in the report.


Microsoft is looking to the holidays to lift Vistas prospects. Click here to read more.

The answer, the study found, was that only 38 percent of enterprises with more than half their PCs running Windows 2000 have specific Windows Vista deployment plans, and they are also not likely to move to Windows Vista in the near-term.

Only 4 percent are planning a deployment before the end of 2007, with just 20 percent looking to begin their rollout before the end of next year, the report said.

In contrast, Windows XP shops have more aggressive deployment plans, with just under half looking to deploy Windows Vista in 2010 or beyond, it found.


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