LOS ANGELES -- Microsoft will take advantage of its audience of IT managers and partners this week to deliver an old message -- it will emphasize the value of upgrading to a current product release even though new ones are waiting in the wings.
Here at TechEd 2009, the company will evangelize running Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 together. Microsoft said this week that both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will be available at the end of 2009 -- a tad ahead of many expectations.
The company, however, still recommends that the vast majority of IT shops that still run Windows XP should move first to Vista and then to Windows 7. At least that's what Microsoft's Corporate Vice President Robert Wahbe reiterated last week when asked if the lack of Vista mentions in the TechEd catalog signified that the client OS is pretty much dead.
The "v" word was not uttered often at the keynote sessions except when Microsoft senior vice president Bill Veghte said that companies that are deploying Vista already should continue to do so, but that those that have just started testing should disengage and test the new Windows 7 release candidate instead.
At a session later in the day, a group of a few hundred attendees were asked if their companies had started using Vista: Less than a half dozen people raised their hands--a demonstration that is probably pretty accurate about the overall corporate uptake of Vista.
"At TechEd, we will focus on the new releases," Wahbe said. "We think the best way to prep for Windows 7 is to move to Vista …. We have strong promise around compatibility for the enterprise, small businesses and consumers. Vista is a great product with great compatibility [and] device support that will get you ready for Windows 7."
The best Microsoft can hope for now is to get Windows 7, also available in release candidate form, out soon, some partners said. "Then they'll get more Win 7 deployments in the first few months than we saw in the first whole year or more with Vista," said one long-time partner on the West Coast. "So far, test results have found Win 7 to be more compatible. It runs on systems with less memory and [lesser] processors, and overall [it] just works better from the get-go than Vista."
This report was updated Monday afternoon with additional information from the show.