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Thursday, 26 June 2008 16:56

No Vista Inside for Intel

Upgrade to Windows Vista? No thanks, says Intel according to an insider. The chip giant apparently has no plans to upgrade 80,000 employees from XP to Vista, in what must be a painful blow to Microsoft.

Speaking to the New York Times an Intel insider, who remains anonymous in print but is said to have direct knowledge of company strategy, has said the chip giant will skip Vista.

The reason being perhaps the most hurtful to Microsoft: "no compelling case."

That has to be something of a blow to Microsoft considering that they once said businesses would embrace it twice as quickly as they did XP. Here's what Brad Goldberg, general manager for Windows product management, said in September 2006 :

"Vista is built for businesses. We're giving businesses the tools they need to get out of the gate faster with Vista. Our goal is to have twice as fast deployment of Vista than for any other operating system."

How wrong could he have been?

The New York Times says that, according to the Intel insider, the company has made its decision "after a lengthy analysis by its internal technology staff of the costs and potential benefits of moving to Windows Vista, which has drawn fire from many customers as a buggy, bloated program that requires costly hardware upgrades to run smoothly."

Intel, meanwhile, claims that it is currently both testing and deploying Vista. But only in selected departments, not enterprise wide. In itself this has to come as a surprise from the company that is still known in many circles as Wintel thanks to the closeness it has shared with Microsoft in the past.


The Inquirer, who first got wind of the Intel dissent, comments that "when a company as tech savvy as Intel, with full source code access and having written several large chunks of the OS, says get stuffed, you know you have a problem. Well, everyone knows MS has a problem, but it is nice to see it codified in such a black and white way though. Reassuring, like a warm cup of tea, or a public kick to the corporate crown jewels."

Indeed, that is as good an analysis, if a rather irreverent one, that I have seen. The simple truth is that you don't expect enterprise level business to upgrade and deploy a new operating system within the first 12 months of release.

It makes sense to wait for the initial bugs to get squished and the inevitable security scares to be sorted first.

However, with Vista hitting the corporate market in November 2006 (and being available for testing long before) one would certainly expect it to have been long enough for this kind of big hitting company to have made a decision.

It appears that Intel, and many others, have. Unfortunately for Microsoft, that decision seems to be not to bother.


This is, no doubt, partly due to an 'if it ain't broke' policy which sees a fully patched and service packed XP installation as perfectly acceptable. The bean counters will also have had their say, and might be of the opinion that Vista does not offer enough in the way of convincing argument for an expensive upgrade exercise.

However, it could also be as a result of Microsoft shooting itself in both feet by making it known that Windows 7 will be available within a year. Almost exactly a year ago one news blogger was quoting a Gartner report suggesting that Intel would be skipping Vista and blaming the shadow of Windows 7.

I think he has a point, a good one. With Microsoft expected to have Windows 7 out before the 'official' January 10 deadline why would anyone now be considering what will soon be a retrograde OS install?

The bad news, of course, is that by skipping Vista and waiting a year for Windows 7 to be bug fixed and secured, Microsoft lose out on upgrade licenses for a good few years.


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