In Cherry's opinion, Windows XP Service Pack 2, a major security release for XP, was less a service pack than an upgrade to Windows. Businesses running this version of Windows may choose to bypass Vista and opt to install Windows 7 instead if it is released in the next few years, depending on where they are in their hardware upgrade cycle. The release of a third service pack for XP, which Microsoft has confirmed is in the works, supports this theory, since it adds "a couple more years" to the viability of XP in the enterprise.
Still, one Microsoft partner thought that the possibility that businesses won't be adopting Vista in droves until 2008 means it may be Windows 7 that will be skipped over, not Vista.
Brian Randell, a senior consultant with MCW Technologies in Los Angeles, acknowledged it was initially rough going with Vista because of hardware incompatibility problems. However, he said that these issues were more the fault of hardware vendors not preparing their products for Vista than Microsoft doing anything wrong.
"Microsoft delivered a really solid OS," he said. "The fact is, for as long as Vista was in beta, the hardware vendors didn't seem to have their act together."
Randell said that even companies that work closely with Microsoft have heard little about Windows 7, and that most are concerned more with what effect Vista SP1 will have on business adoption of the OS than on any future releases.