With Microsoft's Windows XP deadline approaching, an online "Save Windows XP" petition has had more than 100,000 responses. These users, like businesses, have been reluctant to move to Windows Vista. For large businesses, adopting Windows Vista could cost millions and Gartner analysts have indicated that Windows could be collapsing.
Windows may or may not be collapsing, as two Gartner Group analysts indicated last week, but Microsoft is receiving substantial pushback against Windows Vista. With less than three months left until Microsoft says it will stop selling and supporting most versions of Windows XP, will customers be forced into an operating system they don't want -- or is Microsoft facing a customer revolt of stunning proportions?
Resistance is strong enough that InfoWorld Executive Editor Galen Gruman has launched a "Save Windows XP" online petition that has received more than 100,000 responses.
"Millions of us have grown comfortable with XP and don't see a need to change to Vista. It's like having a comfortable apartment that you've enjoyed coming home to for years, only to get an eviction notice," the petition reads.
"The thought of moving to a new place -- even with the stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and maple cabinets (or is cherry in this year?) -- just doesn't sit right. Maybe it'll be more modern, but it will also cost more and likely not be as good a fit. And you don't have any other reason to move."
Will Microsoft Pull an ME?
Gruman wants Microsoft to do something similar to its handling of the disastrous Windows Millenium Edition -- continue selling XP until an acceptable version of Vista can be developed.
It's not clear whether businesses are really pushing back on Vista, said Charles King, principal analyst for Pund-IT, in a telephone interview. "We're just a few weeks past Service Pack 1 for Vista," he noted. "The availability of SP1 is usually the trigger point for serious implementations." While business implementation of Vista so far has been minor, "I expect it to pick up speed," King said.
At the end of the day, though, neither Microsoft nor any other company can force customers to buy their wares. "You try to bring them over a little bit at a time," King said. "Business has found XP, especially the Professional version, to be a very stable operating system that gives them what they want."
The High Cost of Vista
In Gartner's critique of Windows, the analysts said that with Vista Microsoft was attempting to move to a new code base that gets them out from under years of legacy code. While that's true, King said, Microsoft did make some missteps with Vista that haven't helped.