Enterprises are shifting to Windows 7

One year after its release, adoption to the desktop operating system is exceeding expectations

One year after formally releasing its Windows 7 desktop operating system, Microsoft is making note that adoption among enterprises is exceeding expectations.

Microsoft recently disclosed it has shipped 240 million copies of Windows 7, accounting for approximately 20 percent of all 1.2 billion Windows PCs now in use. The company has commemorated the recent anniversary of the release of Windows 7, which shipped on Oct. 22, 2009, pointing to enterprise adoption of the OS.

"We have seen many customers around the world move very rapidly to deploy Windows 7 in their environment," said Rich Reynolds, Microsoft's General Manager of Windows Commercial marketing, in a post on the company's Windows for your Business blog. "Other customers are eagerly seeking to identify best practices as they embark upon their evaluation, planning and roll out."

In an interview, IDC analyst Al Gillen said many enterprises have already embarked on Windows 7 migrations. And those that haven't will. "Ninety percent of customers have plans in some way, shape or form to be moving toward Windows 7," Gillen said.

That was a figure echoed by Forrester Research, which yesterday released a report focused on Windows 7 commercial adoption. Only 7 percent of those surveyed by Forrester a year ago said they planned to deploy Windows 7 this year, yet 46 percent actually said they have begun or will begin deployments.

An additional 42 percent plan to deploy Windows 7 in more than 12 months, while 1 percent are considering alternatives such as Windows 8, Macintosh systems and PCs running Linux desktop distributions.

For now, Windows 7 accounts for 10 percent of all commercial desktops, the report noted. The large majority, 75 percent, still run Windows XP, while 7 percent are running Vista. The findings are based on a survey of 774 decisions makers in enterprises in North America and Europe.

Enterprise-wide deployments will likely take years, the study found. Forty percent said they will upgrade PCs as they reach the end of life, while 39 percent are planning enterprise-wide migrations to avoid supporting two operating systems.

According to Microsoft, there are three factors driving upgrades to Windows 7: the "consumerization" of IT, desktop virtualization and the cloud. Individuals that have Windows 7 at home are demanding it at work, said Gavriella Schuster, general manager for Windows Client, in an interview.

"I see that as a big shift where IT is taking that pressure much more seriously now," she said. "Users have gotten to the point where they say, 'if you're not going to give me Windows 7 at work, or you're not going to give me the experience I want, I'm just going to do it.' IT realizes they can't control that any more."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner and an editor-at-large at Redmond magazine, affiliate publications of Government Computer News.

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