My reason for sharing this piece of technical nostalgia with you is this article from six weeks ago - I told you I was cleaning out my in-tray - talking of the perils of skipping the Vista OS and waiting for Windows 7. The theme of the article is that failing to upgrade to the latest Microsoft technology is dangerous for your business. Lets look at some quotes :
"Waiting another two years -- or more -- for Windows 7 is a gamble on a business's financial future. And that wait could be longer if Microsoft delays Windows 7, further complicating application compatibility issues."
"As XP gets older, you may hit more issues and at some point -- we think that point is 2012 -- you will need to bite the bullet and move all your users from XP to Windows 7. Which means you may need to hire an external service provider to help you move."
Call me stoopid if you like, but I really can't see the the gamble which the article states is being undertaken by businesses who don't upgrade to Vista. Yes I know Gartner wrote an article on precisely those points but I'm not going to pay USD$195 for a four page PDF explaining why I need to send more money to Microsoft.
Lets stick with the original article for the moment:
"... support for XP is more likely to be dropped by some application vendors before Microsoft halts its own support."
I don't think so. No application vendor will cut their own throat by refusing to support the most commonly used OS. Application support for XP will only stop after it loses critical mass in the marketplace and given the 1-2 year lead time that application vendors provide when notifying End of Life for an application version, there will be plenty of time to consider and implement an OS upgrade.
"Consider cash. Since an OS refresh of some sort is inevitable, CIOs should consider conducting on when they have the budget to do it. Waiting another two years -- or more -- for Windows 7 is a gamble on a business's financial future. And that wait could be longer if Microsoft delays Windows 7, further complicating application compatibility issues."
Why should an OS 'refresh' be inevitable at all? If the existing OS is doing the job and there is no financial or business justification for moving to an alternative system then why spend even one red cent talking about buying Vista? It gets worse when we read the tissue paper logic about a '... gamble on a business's financial future'. So where is the gamble? How is my financial future at risk if I don't upgrade? There seems to be the implication that if I have the money today then I should quickly give it to Microsoft before I get tempted to spend it anywhere else.
"Support for XP from hardware vendors could also wane by 2011 or thereabouts..."
Another bogeyman without any substance. If the world is still running on XP then the hardware manufacturers will provide drivers for that OS. Failing to do so means they won''t sell their hardware.
"Lastly, organizations working without the Microsoft Software Assurance program may also be stuck if Windows 7 does not include downgrade rights to XP, a scenario Gartner considers likely. In that case, XP users who skip Vista would be required to buy Windows 7 licenses to upgrade."
Or they could switch to Linux or Apple or Citrix technology or, if the organisation was big enough, maybe the threat of them doing that would be enough for Microsoft to relent on allowing downgrade rights.
Getting back to my laptop for the moment. That machine is the right tool for the job and it makes no financial sense for me to invest in an upgraded tool. I have the same impression about this whole XP to Vista upgrade thing. Has anyone, anywhere ever found a situation where an organization was financially worse off because they didn't upgrade from XP to Vista? As Rod Tidwell would say...