The prediction by Gartner, the IT research firm, that the Microsoft Vista operating system will be delayed once again, has caused some consternation in the IT industry.
“Gartner says it has the information to make that assumption. I haven’t heard anything myself that would support it one way or the other,” stated Charles King, an IT industry analyst with Pund-IT.
Another observer of the industry, Rob Enderle, the principal analyst for the Enderle Group, has an open mind on the subject. “So as always, there is a possibility but I have not heard anything that indicates a slip in the curve.”
Meanwhile, Mike Silver, research director for hardware and operating systems at Gartner, expects that few organizations will deploy the Microsoft Office 2007 suite unless it can be done in synch with the Vista OS.
The difficulty is that Office “is in a better shape” to be introduced for sale this January than Vista, which stated Silver, “is more likely to slip.”
“Vista is really big complex project and we think that Microsoft hasn’t left itself enough time to respond to everything that they will need to respond to [required improvements] in the Vista beta two time frame.”
Silver said that building a new operating system is complicated. “Windows affects a lot more applications. [There is] a lot more room for incompatibility with the significant changes that they have made.”
Enderle recalled how Vista was originally due “in some shape or form” back in 2003 until some security problems were discovered in Windows XP.
“[Microsoft] pulled a bunch of resources off Vista to deal with the security impact of XP, and that caused things to slip up.”
King is not sure that another delay for Vista until the second quarter next year, for instance, “makes a huge deal.”
He is also skeptical that with a reported suggested list price for Vista ($US-450) and Office 2007 ($US-600) that many people will jump at the chance to purchase either of them.
“When you are talking the upgrade costs it is clearly aimed at driving people into buying new hardware. Unless you bought a new computer within the last twelve months I can’t imagine why anybody would pay that kind of premium for a new OS.”
King is not likely to switch from Office 2003 which he personally likes. “I use Office 2003 as do most of the other analysts that I know and I can’t think of more than one or two people that I know who use anything more than 15 to 20 per cent of the features on that program, probably closer to five or six per cent.”
He especially likes the editorial change function in Office 2003 and he is not sure Microsoft can do more in terms of upgrading it. “They are talking about enhancing that [for Office 2007] but you know frankly it is [in Office 2003] very simple, it is very elegant, you can see who added what to a report without too much trouble.”
The much celebrated collaboration and Power Point features in Office 2007 will only be compelling for certain classes of professional business people, King stated.
“But for basic consumers and probably at least half of business users, probably more than half, those features will be moot.”