Microsoft lifts efforts to boost Vista's appeal  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in

Microsoft New Zealand is ramping up its efforts to encourage local businesses and home computer users to switch to its new, much-maligned Windows Vista operating system.
The company believes it can do a better job spreading the word about Vista's potential to boost workplace productivity and plans to publicise more examples of local organisations using the operating system.
Microsoft has dominated the global personal computer operating system market through the various incarnations of Windows, which run on about nine out of every 10 computers.
Vista was launched early last year to a chorus of complaints from PC users who said it was sluggish compared to its predecessor, Windows XP, and incompatible with some of their existing software and hardware.
As a result, Microsoft has faced loud calls to delay the phase-out of XP, which was introduced in 2001.
The Vista sell has been made harder by Microsoft talking up its next operating system, Windows 7, due to be released late next year or early in 2010. This has prompted some business IT departments to consider skipping Vista and delaying their next operating system upgrade until 7 is available.
The latest embarrassment for Vista has been a decision by chip maker Intel - a major Microsoft business partner - not to upgrade the computers used by its 80,000 employees to the new operating system. The New York Times last week quoted a source saying Intel's IT department "just found no compelling case for adopting Vista".
However, Ben Green, Microsoft NZ's Windows marketing manager, says a year and a half after Vista's launch, it has been significantly improved and 60 per cent of small businesses say using it makes them more productive. Negative sentiment about Vista typically came from businesses or consumers who were not using it.
"The reality is someone who tried Vista early on may have had a great experience, but chances are they would have probably ended up having to look around a manufacturer's website for that extra driver to make something go," he said.
"A year and a half in, the experience is significantly different. So we're encouraging people at the moment to have a test drive, to have a look."
Green said his job would include spending more time talking to customers about Vista's selling points such as its enhanced security and productivity-enhancing features.
"Someone using Vista and Internet Explorer 7 [the latest version of Microsoft's web browser] is 60 per cent less likely to be infected by a virus or malware," Green said.
Green said businesses typically spent $5000 a year per machine on computer provisioning costs, about 70 per cent of which was made up of "labour" costs - the time the IT department or the end-user spent maintaining the system. Vista had features such as over-the-network diagnostic tools that cut that annual cost by between $300 and $1200, he said.
Local organisations that have begun to use Vista include Kiwibank, Treasury, the Fire Service, Waikato Institute of Technology and engineering consultancy Beca.
Two years ago Microsoft predicted businesses would adopt Vista at twice the speed of XP, but Green said to date, overall uptake of Vista was about the same as it had been a similar time after the launch of XP.
While users may not be rushing to upgrade to Vista - it has about a 20 per cent share of the market - its eventual dominance is assured as Microsoft phases out XP. However, the company has said it will continue offering support to XP users until 2014.

This entry was posted on Jul 3, 2008 at 3:50 AM and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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