On 22 October 2009, Windows 7, the latest version of Microsoft's flagship operating system, entered general availability. New PCs will ship loaded with the new operating system (OS), and upgrades are publicly available.
While Microsoft's release of Windows 7 marks a milestone for consumers buying PCs, for corporate buyers it's simply another reminder to begin the planning and preparation process for the upcoming unavoidable migration.
Gartner believes Windows 7 will get a significantly better reception than Windows Vista, and we expect it to become the predominant OS in both the corporate and consumer space over the next four years. Windows 7 builds on Windows Vista, inheriting all of its improvements in security and manageability while adding a level of polishing, optimization and feature improvements. The poor level of ecosystem readiness which hobbled Vista, creating serious compatibility issues, has mostly been addressed in Windows 7.
For most corporate users, the critical factor is the end of life for Windows XP, which Microsoft will not support after April 2014. Equally important, we anticipate waning third-party support for XP beginning in late 2011 and accelerating through 2012. We expect that preparation work for migration will take at least 12 to 18 months for most organizations. Organizations should therefore begin migration planning immediately to maximize their options and enable a controlled and cost-effective migration to Windows 7.
All enterprises using Microsoft Windows:
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