Look for consumers to gobble up Windows XP as Microsoft’s latest OS makes its debut, but businesses won’t be so quick to jump on board, according to research by Gartner’s Dataquest.
The consumer segment will see rapid implementation of Windows XP Home, but Windows 2000 will remain the leading operating system for businesses in 2002. In the consumer market, Dataquest forecasts 87 percent of new Windows PCs will have Windows XP Home in 2002. In the business segment, Windows XP Professional will be in 16 percent of new Windows PCs in 2002, while Windows 2000 will be in 41 percent of new Windows PCs at the end of next year.
“In terms of stability alone, Windows XP Home is a dramatic advance over Windows 98, 98 SE and Windows Me,” said Michael Silver, research director for Gartner. “However, Windows XP Professional is clearly only an incremental change from Windows 2000 professional.”
At a time when companies are carefully watching how they spend their money, the amount of change that an OS upgrade would bring is key to deciding whether or not to spend.
“Most enterprises will see little return on investment upgrading existing Windows 2000 machines to Windows XP and should ensure there is return on investment before upgrading any existing PCs,” Silver said. “Existing PCs that will only be owned for less than 12 months should almost never be upgraded and, instead, should be replaced with a new PC with a new operating system during normal refresh cycles. For new Windows PCs, enterprises should make every effort to ensure they’re delivered with Windows 2000 or Windows XP instead of an older version of Windows.”
As for the hope among PC vendors that a new Microsoft operating system will spur PC sales for the fourth quarter of 2001, Gartner analysts said this is unlikely. Dataquest projects worldwide PC shipments to decline 13 percent in the fourth quarter of 2001 compared to the fourth quarter of 2000.
“Although Windows XP offers solid technology, Microsoft’s ability to push the rest of the PC market has lessened, and it will not be able to overcome a slow economy and market saturation,” said Charles Smulders, vice president of Gartner Dataquest’s Computing Platforms Worldwide group. “The release of Windows XP will only mildly affect new PC sales, with the majority being replacements of old systems at the end of their lives.”
This doesn’t mean that Microsoft’s grip on the operating system market has lessened to any real extent. According to International Data Corp., Windows accounted for 41 percent of server operating environment shipments and 92 percent of shipments for the client operating environment in 2000. Only Windows and Linux increased their desktop OS shipments in 2000.
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