News that 60 percent of IT administrators don't want Windows 7 is hardly a promising start to Microsoft's Partners Conference, held this week in New Orleans. If the figures are right, Windows 7 may do better than Vista, but not by much.
The survey [pdf], commissioned by ScriptLogic, is a very preliminary assessment of Windows 7's chances. But it gives us an idea of what faces Windows 7 as the new OS begins battling for acceptance in corporate America and the world.
My bet, for the moment, is that the 60 percent figure reflects excessive pessimism and the US's weakened economy. When companies upgrade hardware, I suspect they will begin to accept Windows 7 as the new operating system of choice.
Of those who do plan to adopt Windows 7, most won't deploy until next year. That only makes sense for an OS that isn't supposed to ship until late October.
A friendly reception?
The survey, of 1,100 IT administrators, has an error of +/- 3 percentage points, Scriptlogic said.
Windows 7 is already getting a friendlier reception than Vista ever received, but warm feelings don't always translate into revenue, especially for Microsoft, whose customers seem perfectly happy with what they already own.
Microsoft's continuing effort to end-of-life Windows XP may be thwarted again, however, while companies take a long look at the new OS before buying. I believe Windows 7 will catch on slowly, but will be accepted - eventually.
People I know who have used Windows 7 like it, and my experience has been positive too. That's already better word of mouth than Vista received and, if this sustained, it could silence some Windows 7 critics.
Its next-gen OS is not the only trouble Microsoft faces this week. Forget Google - it's Office 2010 that is getting a bit of a drubbing. According to some, Office 2010's most important new feature may be the version that will be available free on the web.
Unlike Google, however, Microsoft has yet to find a way to make money from free software and its traditional cash cows, Office and Windows, are under pressure as never before.
If I were a Microsoft partner in New Orleans this week, I wouldn't be betting against the company, but I would be more than a little concerned.