Agencies delaying move to Vista OS

Many federal agencies will not be moving to Microsoft Corp.'s next operating system, Vista, 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 an 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 Vista before 2008, an official said.

Scott Charbo, Homeland Security Department CIO, said he hopes to complete his agency's move to Vista by 2009, and is budgeting and doing other things to prepare for that move now.

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, DOT 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 notebook PC 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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