updated 11:00 am EDT, Tue July 24, 2007
Vista harmed by XP success
Sales of Windows Vista may, paradoxically, be hampered by the very success of Windows XP, writes one technology columnist. An observer with the Microsoft-focused Redmond observes that during July 20th's quarterly earnings call, Microsoft substantially altered its predictions for OS sales during Fiscal Year 2008: Vista revenue is expected to fall from 85 to 78 percent, while XP revenue should actually increase from 15 to 22 percent. Respectively, the two should shrink and grow by about 50 percent.
This view is echoed by George Shiffler of the Gartner research firm, who notes, "Our market data suggest Vista has had very limited impact on PC demand or replacement activity. We don't see Vista having a significant effect on these going forward unless Microsoft becomes much more aggressive in its marketing efforts."
Leading PC builder Dell, meanwhile, has retained Windows XP as an installtion option on some of its systems, despite having originally followed other companies into going Vista-only.
The reasons for this, however, may have less to do with driver and compatibility issues than simple satisfaction with the state of XP. "With each new version of Windows," says analyst Matt Rosoff of Directions on Microsoft, "it gets harder and harder to find features and improvements that will drive upgrades."
Rosoff highlights the fact that in the days before XP, an upgrade from Windows 95 to 98 or 2000 would bring with it significant improvements to stability and security. Under XP, however, the business and home operating systems were united under a single, more reliable codebase, which was cemented with the release of Service Pack 2. Vista features such as Instant Search can be important, Rosoff muses, but not enough of a reason to spend money on an upgrade. "There's not that much you can do in an OS," he comments.