Agencies delaying move to Microsoft Vista

Many federal agencies move to Microsoft Corp.'s next operating system, Vista, will not happen anytime soon.

Several agency CIOs said they either see no business reason to move from Windows XP to the new OS, or are budgeting and planning for the transition in 2009 or beyond.

The Transportation Department, for instance, issued a indefinite moratorium to its bureaus, telling them not to update to Vista, Office 2007 and Internet Explorer 7. The memo was first reported by Information Week last Friday.

Other agencies are following DOT's lead as well. The Interior Department has written a similar memo and will issue it shortly, sources said.

For other agencies, it isn't even on their radar. Molly O'Neill, Environmental Protection Agency CIO, said she hasn't really thought much about moving to Vista, while Defense Department CIO John Grimes said the move to Vista will happen as a part of its regular refresh cycle. Grimes said he hasn't spent too much time on Vista so far.

The General Services Administration also is not considering moving to the new OS before 2008, an official said.

Scott Charbo, the Homeland Security Department's CIO, said his agency will move to Vista sometime in 2009.

A lot of these decisions likely are driven by cost, the desire for coordination across the agency or how these new applications will help agencies meet their mission.

In its memo, Transportation said there is no 'compelling technical or business case for upgrading to these new Microsoft software products. Furthermore, there seems to be specific reasons not to upgrade''

The reasons include:

' The cost for performing the upgrade.
' Previous versions compatibility concerns regarding Office 2007 suite components, primarily Word
' The protracted fiscal 2007 limitation on available funding
' DOT's move to a new headquarters building would compete with IT expertise for these upgrades.

DOT will perform a further analysis and issue another memo in the next six months outlining the agency's desktop and laptop migration strategy.

Bureaus also have to get permission from the CIO's office to even test the software, the memo said.

Microsoft officials were not immediately available for comment.

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