With hype about Microsoft’s new Office suite and free cloud-based tools in full swing today, it’s sobering to read a report which suggests that most businesses plan to skip upgrading to Windows 7. Reuters reports that in a survey of over 1000 businesses, 60% said they had no plans to upgrade their operating system any time soon.
With the economy in poor shape, many businesses have cut back on IT investment and in the survey by ScriptLogic Corp many respondents said that they simply didn’t have time and resources to upgrade. Most other businesses that responded to the survey said they plan to hold off on upgrading until they’ve tested that the applications they use work with the new OS. That’s a sensible move, but the news that most businesses plan to stick with their existing OS is, quite simply, frightening.
Many businesses are still using Windows XP. The upgrade to Vista was too much pain too soon, especially as XP still worked fine. Many industry watchers had expected businesses to move to Windows 7 but that may not be the case if this survey is anything to go by. Added to the frustration of many web developers that businesses refuse to upgrade their web browser beyond Internet Explorer 6 (thanks to the money they’ve spent on custom apps that will only work with the eight year-old browser), you have an almost unbelievable situation brewing.
The office of the future may be stuck running an OS and browser that are well over a decade old. This is unprecedented in the short history of consumer computing. Imagine if we were all running Windows 3.1 now – that’s the equivalent of what we might be facing in a few years time.
This will be a frustrating situation for software developers and hardware retailers, who rely on the steady march of technological progress to sell new products to their customers. Web developers will find uptake of their exciting new sites and services stunted by a vast number of users with machines simply unable to handle them. Could this lead to an even deeper and longer recession in the computer and web tech industries? It’s all too easy to come to the conclusion that yes, it will.