MS tech chief tips Vista for business

Microsoft will overcome its challenges and win business users over for its upcoming Vista product, its most senior technical person in the EMEA region said last week.

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By  Chris Whyatt Published  December 25, 2005

Microsoft will overcome its challenges and win business users over for its upcoming Vista product, its most senior technical person in the EMEA region said last week. Analyst firm, Directions on Microsoft, this month said that getting businesses to upgrade to Vista is Microsoft’s biggest challenge for 2006. However, Jonathan Murray, chief technology officer for Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa, said that enterprise customers would make the switch. “I think we have a very strong value proposition for all of our clients with Vista, starting with the consumer space, and more importantly the enterprise market,” he told IT Weekly in an exclusive interview. “Enterprise customers are interested in things like manageability, security, reliability and predictability and these are all things in which Vista will excel,” he claimed. “Our job, obviously, as a software vendor is to go out, be talking to customers and demonstrating the value that these products have. If we do that well, customers will adopt the products and if we don’t do that well, they won’t,” he stated. Vista, formerly code-named Longhorn, is the long-awaited replacement for Windows XP, which shipped in 2001. Vista is scheduled to debut in the second half of next year, although Microsoft has declined to name the exact date. Convinc ing enterprises to upgrade to Windows Vista will be Microsoft’s biggest challenge for next year, according to Directions on Microsoft, which is a specialist research firm devoted to analysing the movements of the Redmond, US, firm. Directions on Microsoft released its ‘Microsoft’s Top 10 Challenges for 2006’ report this month, which identifies the top strategic issues it thinks Micro- soft needs to address over the coming 12 months and beyond. The firm said that each of the ten issues it raised could ultimately interrupt Microsoft’s run of growth and profits and leave the door open for younger, smaller, and more nimble competitors, if they were left unattended. But its chief concern should be establishing Windows Vista, its new operating system, as an enterprise product when it is rolled out late in 2006. “Windows Vista could offer large organisations improvements in software development, security, reliability, systems manageme-nt and user interface,” it stated. “However, public demonstrations have been full of cool graphics effects and consumer features that probably turn off more IT staff than they attract, and sales of Windows upgrade rights to corporations have been disappointing,” it noted. The report continued to say that, next year, Microsoft has to settle on a feature set for Vista that appeals to enterprises, that it must explain clearly what that feature set is, and reveal what PC hardware and other infrastructure corporations require to reap its benefits. “The Windows Client division has to tell corporate customers why they want Windows Vista, and why they shouldn’t wait until they buy new hardware,” said Rob Helm, director of research at Directions for Microsoft. Elsewhere, the report says that the 2006 run-up to Vista could be Microsoft’s last chan- ce to stop badly-behaved Windows applications by publishing and enforcing guidelines in its logo programs and malicious software protection products. “The time has come for Microsoft to show discipline in dealing with bad applications, and to lead in the war on spyware and other malicious software,” said Michael Cherry, lead analyst of Windows at Directions on Microsoft. Other issues it must tackle include communicating its intent for entering into the managed-solutions market, as well as which parts of its business it will leave to its partners.

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