"Under Microsoft's planned enterprise licensing rules, businesses that buy PCs before April 23, 2010, with Windows 7 preinstalled can downgrade them to Windows XP, then later upgrade them to Windows 7 when they're ready to migrate their users. But PCs bought on or after April 23 can only be downgraded to Vista -- which is of no help for XP-based organizations, Silver notes -- and could cause major headaches and add more costs to the Windows 7 migration effort."
"Both Forrester Research and Gartner advise clients to wait 12 to 18 months after Windows 7 ships before adopting the new OS, so they can test compatibility of their hardware and software, as well as ensure their vendors' Windows 7 support meets their needs. But Microsoft's six-month downgrade restriction for XP means that the businesses that chose not to install Vista have to rush the migration process. Or they can spend extra money and enroll in Microsoft's Software Assurance program, which then lets them install any OS version at the price of the extra yearly fee (about $90) per PC."
IT needs to work through several other issues when figuring out its Windows 7 migration strategy, Silver points out.
- Microsoft has yet to make public the details of its
Technology Guarantee program or even say if there will be one that
covers business purchases. The Technology Guarantee program gives free
upgrades to Windows 7 on PCs purchased after a certain date. That's
crucial for businesses that plan to adopt Windows 7 soon, so they can
time their hardware purchases to avoid paying for a Windows 7 upgrade
shortly after buying a PC shipping with Vista.
- Even if applications designed for XP or Vista run on Windows 7, that's no guarantee that the software vendor will support them on Windows 7.
Go liberate (http://www.ibm.com/software/info/liberate), and then figure out alternative migration and virtualization strategies (http://www.ibm.com/lotus/openclient)...