As Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system draws ever closer, the Redmond-based Goliath faces the same problem it encountered prior to the launch of its ill-received Windows Vista. Just how exactly do you convince the millions of companies that are happily using Windows XP to upgrade to an all-new version of Windows?
Unfortunately for Microsoft, the all-important enterprise market chose to largely ignore its current operating system of choice, Windows Vista. According to recent statistics, over 70 per cent of corporate PCs still run the ageing Windows XP - despite having launched over eight years ago.
Convincing the enterprise to transition to Windows 7 may prove to be just as difficult, and Microsoft's Steve Ballmer unconvincingly hopes that employees seeking the latest-greatest will help turn things around. Speaking at a recent IT event in New York City, Ballmer advised enterprise customers:
"If you deploy a four or five-year old operating system today, most people will ask their boss why the heck they don't have the stuff they have at home".
We can't see such an approach helping Windows 7's case in the enterprise market, and the forthcoming operating system may face an uphill struggle. Further complicating matters is the fact that - unlike Windows Vista - Windows 7 won't allow users to upgrade from an existing installation of Windows XP, instead requiring an outright clean install.
We're liking what we've seen of the Windows 7 beta, but perhaps Microsoft's biggest challenge isn't changing the public perception of Windows Vista. The challenge is convincing users - both corporate and home - to put Windows XP to bed.
Are you still using Windows XP at work, and would you welcome an upgrade to Windows Vista or Windows 7? Share your thoughts in the HEXUS.community forums.