Corporate users remain cool despite Windows XP fireworks

IT managers have shown little interest in the forthcoming launch of the Windows XP desktop operating system on October 25, despite Microsoft's plans for a $US 1 billion marketing blitz.

A survey of more than 200 Computerworld readers in Australia and the US shows the Microsoft pitch will need to be extremely persuasive to sway corporate users.

More than half of US respondents have no intention of moving to the new operating system and Australian IT managers said they are still in the process of migrating to Windows 2000.

The bulk of respondents were still migrating to Windows 2000, while others said there were "no new features" in XP to justify the cost.

Qantas technology and services executive general manager David Burden said the cost to migrate is high considering there aren't a great deal of new features in XP.

"For a company our size it takes at least two years to properly develop and implement a new desktop standard; Windows 2000 only became reasonably stable at the beginning of 2001," he said.

Department of Education, Training and Employment IS director Mary Harold agrees, pointing out that XP came along too quickly after Windows 2000.

One Australian IT manager said it was a "fight to get this far with Windows 2000" and at this stage, XP wasn't even a consideration.

"The cost involved doesn't make it feasible," he added.

An IS director for a bank said there is still some debate about whether to switch gears from Windows 2000 to XP.

"Budgets are tight right now. If you don't have to have it, you don't buy it," he said.

The predominant operating systems in use by corporate users are the ageing Windows 95, 98 and NT 4.0, but Microsoft product manager Charmaine Gravning said the survey results demonstrate a lack of awareness of the benefits of migrating to XP.

Gravning said this will change when the marketing campaign kicks off but Giga Information Group analyst Rob Enderle said some companies may skip XP due to the market downturn.

"With recent events, projects are being focused on security and increased communications, not on new operating systems," he said.

(Carol Sliwa and Lauren Thomsen-Moore contributed to this story)

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