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Indian CIOs not keen to adopt Windows 7

By SiliconIndia   |   Tuesday, January 10, 2012
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Microsoft's windows vista was a flop. Microsoft had made an OS (Operating System) which looked better but ended up making it too difficult for users to upgrade. Majority of the computers in the world were not compatible with Vista. Now, Microsoft has come up with its latest OS called Windows 7 which the company hopes will offer better sales than Vista. But many corporate houses would rather wait for the reviews to come in before they start the costly process of upgrading their OS.

Microsoft is throwing parties for potential corporate customers and trying to convince them to switch to the new OS. Reliance Communications, Asian Paints, Essar Group and many other companies will wait and see how efficient the new product of Microsoft is before shifting to it, after the Vista failed to deliver on the promise of a faster and sleeker operating system. "We want to see whether it will improve productivity," said Sumit Chowdhry, CIO (Chief Information Officer), Reliance Communications to Economic times. "In the light of failed Vista, we don't want to rush into any decision," he added.

Since its launch, Windows XP has become the most preferred OS and companies' employees are well trained to use it. It is a stable OS which requires less than half the configuration that Vista needs. So unless Microsoft is able to provide better performance than XP, it will face difficulties in convincing customers to upgrade. "There's a learning fatigue if you have new OS every two years," said Essar Group's CIO Vijay Mehra, adding, "Our current OS, Windows XP, is stable and we see no compelling reason to upgrade." Essar has about 350 servers, 7,000 laptop users and 3,000 on the desktop.

Microsoft says that Windows 7 has in-built software for data encryption and allows data back-up onto any drive. It also has better security functions. But CIOs are still hesitant to be the first to try it out. "I'm in no hurry to rip and replace my existing OS," said Manish Choksi, CIO at Asian Paints which has 2,500 desktops and about 100 servers. Microsoft's Windows Client Director Ramesh Gopalkrishna says that they are facing resistance for the new OS. "For the first time, we had to push a lot of people for the early adoptive program. We are determined not to make the same mistakes we did with Vista. We are working closely with partners and clients to fix problems right away," he added.

However, there are some who are buying Microsoft's pitch. Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant and NIIT are among those who are confident that Microsoft would not fail customers this time. The Enterprise version of Windows 7 was launched on August 1, 2009 and many have used the trial versions. "It does not need a large memory footprint and we can run it on our existing hardware," said Infosys CIO Murali Krishna. He also added that while Vista was a challenge, the transition to Windows 7 has been smooth so far. Application compatibility has been ensured, as there is an option in this to bundle Vista application drivers and transfer it.

Wipro believes that new OS can increase productivity by 20 percent while NIIT is impressed by its safety features. "The new software does not allow users to access applications without administrative privileges and this enhances security," Pankaj Dikshit, Deputy Genral Manager at NIIT, said. "Also, the software goes on a sleep mode when not in use, saving power and enhancing battery life of laptops," he added.

At a recent event hosted by Microsoft India, 60 percent of the 120 CIOs present said that they would take as long as a year to deploy Windows 7, while 26 percent said that they would switch over from Windows XP to the latest OS within six months of the launch.

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