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After myriad delays, the new Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Vista operating system is finally out there for the world to see and install. To get a sense of initial attitudes toward Microsoft Vista and to evaluate adoption rates, we turned to our tech-savvy early adopters of the ChangeWave Alliance.

The following findings – drawn from recent ChangeWave corporate and consumer surveys – paint a less-than-stellar picture for the latest brainchild from the software giant.

The Corporate Point of View

During February, we surveyed 1,780 corporate buyers on their company’s purchasing plans and experiences with Vista – beginning by asking them to choose the statement best describing their company’s Vista upgrade plan. The results were telling.

Which of the following statements best describes your company's Vista upgrade plan?

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We found just 4% of respondents reporting their company already has a formal Vista upgrade plan in place. While another 30% have either an informal plan or say they’re working on one, nearly three-in-five (58%) still report their company has no plans to upgrade to Vista.

Digging deeper, we asked members about the impact that Vista was having on their company's normal computer upgrade cycle for the next 6 months:

Most companies tend to have a fairly regular computer upgrade cycle. Is the Vista rollout having any effect on your company's normal computer upgrade cycle for the next 6 months?

JW 2

It is clear, based upon these results, that the “Vista Effect” is currently minimal at best. Note that between November 2006 and February 2007, the number of respondents reporting Vista would have “No Effect” on their company’s normal upgrade cycle for the next six months actually increased by 5 percentage points (from 67% to 72%).

Also, in February only 14% reported the Vista rollout was accelerating their company’s normal upgrade cycle – a full 4-points less than in November 2006.

We continued to drill down, asking respondents which quarter they thought their company would purchase their first Vista-installed computer. While 7% reported their company had already purchased their first one, looking forward only 36% said they planned on purchasing their first Vista-installed computer by the end of 2007 – down a big 16-points from our survey just three months ago.

Another potentially problematic spot for Vista was the overall satisfaction rating for the product. While 72% of respondents said their company was satisfied with Vista, a very high 28% said their company was unsatisfied with the new operating system.

And On The Consumer Front

During the week of March 8-15, 2007, we also surveyed Alliance consumers on their overall spending and shopping patterns – including a look at the consumer prospects for Vista.
Out of 1,829 total respondents, 6% said they were currently using a version of Vista in their home. And just as with corporate users, the percentage saying they were unsatisfied with Vista was quite high, coming in at 24% (the percentage saying they were satisfied was 65%).
Will things be getting better over the next 90 days? Well, not really. In fact, the projected adoption rate for the next 3 months can be described as mediocre at best.

Do you plan on upgrading an existing computer in your home to the Vista operating system in the next 90 days?

JW 3

Only 8% of respondents told us they planned a Vista upgrade, while 85% say they have no plans to upgrade. This is a clear signal that, at least so far, the early adopters of the ChangeWave Alliance aren’t wildly eager about making the switchover to Vista.

In the months ahead, we’ll continue monitoring the software purchasing landscape to see exactly if and when the waters become more inviting for Microsoft Vista. As for now, however, both corporate America and the tech savvy segment of the consumer population are only just beginning to gingerly dip their toes into the Vista pond.

Paul Carton co-wrote this article.
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This article summarizes the results of a recent ChangeWave Alliance survey. The Alliance is a research network of 10,000 business, technology and medical professionals who spend their everyday lives working on the front line of technological change. For more info on the ChangeWave Alliance, or if you are interested in joining, please click here.

Source: Vetting Vista: Trouble Ahead for Microsoft’s Newest Operating System