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Vista: Should I stay or should I go?

The great 20th-century British philosopher Mick Jones once asked the defining question of his era: “Should I stay or should I go?

OK, OK, OK. Jones wasn’t a philosopher. He was the singer for The Clash. But his words are ringing truer today than perhaps ever before, as consumers and CIOs alike ponder if they should stay with Windows XP or go to Windows Vista. And the recent advice coming from the analyst community isn’t doing much to help these people answer Jones’ question.

Back in April, Forrester Research analyst Benjamin Gray issued a report called “Building the Business Case for Windows Vista.” In it, he recommended that most business users start Vista migrations soon. Otherwise, he warned, they could fall behind Microsoft’s support cycle, or they could be left waiting for a new operating system — Microsoft’s Windows 7 — that they know nothing about, and that won’t be available for years.

But just last week, Gray’s Forrester colleague, Thomas Mendel, put out a report saying that enterprises have rejected Vista. Microsoft immediately jumped all over the report, with Windows Vista blogger Chris Flores saying Forrester is “schizophrenic.”

(For the record, schizophrenia is a disorder that affects a person’s perception of reality. It’s not the same as multiple personality disorder, which I think is the psychiatric diagnosis that Flores meant to give to Forrester. But I digress.)

Flores went on to offer some statistics and other evidence to refute Mendel’s claim that enterprises have rejected Vista. He also said Mendel’s report “appears to be more focused on making sensationalist statements, rather than offering a thoughtful industry perspective,” which is pretty ironic coming from a blog post titled, “Forrester Gets Schizophrenic on Windows Vista.” That’s not sensational at all, right?

Anyway, Flores wasn’t alone in his defense of Vista. My colleague Zach Church at SearchCIO-Midmarket.com just wrote about a new Gartner report that also warns against skipping Vista. Vice president and distinguished analyst Michael Silver told him: “What we’ve seen is any time people try to skip a version of Windows, they encounter these perils … As XP gets older, you may hit more issues and at some point — we think that point is 2012 — you will need to bite the bullet and move all your users from XP to Windows 7.”

Jones was never able to answer his question, noting that, “if I go, there could be trouble, but if I stay, it will be double.” Business users don’t have that luxury. They’ll have to make a decision sooner or later, and based on the recommendations out there, neither option looks too appealing.

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I wasn’t even aware of social shopping, let alone what it was until I read this article. Seems a lot like how we watch TV (when we actually watch it TV) now - using social media and text messaging to talk about the show with our friends, and even the show’s cast/creators/etc., while the show is still being broadcast.
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