RESCUECOM Advises to Resist Hype about Windows Vista
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
By Joan Verdon, Staff Writer:
Pros tell clients to resist hype for Vista
North Jersey businesses should be wary about jumping on the Vista bandwagon, computer experts advise.
Vista, Microsoft's newest Windows operating system, was introduced to the buying public Tuesday with a fair amount of hype and hoopla. But even the man behind the hype, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, is predicting it will be several years before Vista use becomes as widespread as that of its predecessor, Windows XP.
However, the new system, if it catches on, could drive sales of computer hardware and present profit opportunities for retail chains such as CompUSA and Best Buy Co. and computer installation and technical support companies. Computer retailers are hoping the Vista release will encourage consumers to upgrade to new hardware, and computer consultants have been preparing themselves for questions from clients.
BDE Computer Services of Clifton is one of the support firms that received advance copies of the Vista software. Executives there say the new system does have significant advances over earlier Windows operating systems. But, they say, businesses don't need to rush to make a decision on Vista if they have a system that is working well.
"It's just a matter of when it makes sense financially for someone to adopt it," said John Giotta, director of sales and marketing at BDE. "If somebody's getting a new network, then it just makes sense to go ahead and do it," he said. "But if somebody already has a network that's running smoothly, you have to question whether it's worth the investment for new features."
Giotta said there are "a lot of significant gains in document-sharing technology, when you're adopting the office suite, that will increase productivity." With Vista, he said, "it's easier to work on documents together, it's easier to share those documents, it's easier to find those documents wherever they're stored on the network. But you have to do a strong analysis of your work flow in your office to determine whether or not it's worth replacing a network that's already working." Giotta said it's difficult to estimate what a switch to Vista would cost an average company because so many variables are involved, such as whether the company would have to upgrade its hardware to meet the added requirements of the Vista system.
Jeff Menkes, technical manager for BDE, said the good news for North Jersey businesses is if a company has the right hardware, the transition to Vista is "reasonably painless."
The big advantage of the system for business, he said, is "the ease of use. It's more intuitive in searching for files and programs. You don't have to know where things are located."
Vista users, for example, who want to find a budget report don't have to know which Windows file or queue it is stashed in. An added search feature lets them type the word "budget" and immediately get a list of every file, report or e-mail with budget as a keyword. They also can type in "word" and be linked to the word-processing program. Typing in the word "printers" would link the user to the function that lets them select a printer.
Microsoft has said it will continue to support the Windows XP operating system for several years, so businesses don't need to worry about that system becoming obsolete overnight, computer consultants said.
David Milman, chief executive officer of Rescuecom, a computer service franchise company with 120 locations nationwide, including Belleville and Hoboken, said businesses should wait at least six months before making decisions on Vista, in order to see what bugs surface in the new software.
"Sometimes the latest isn't necessarily the greatest," Milman said, adding that the early users can identify glitches that could cause headaches for businesses adopting the system. He said Rescuecom offices have been testing Vista for a year, and he considers it to be an exciting advance. But Milman says there is no rush to change. "Microsoft XP is not going anywhere," he said. "Microsoft will be supporting it for at least two years, and some people think they will be supporting it for as long as 2011."
Microsoft is hoping the bells and whistles in Vista will drive demand for the new operating system, and it is working closely with the nation's biggest computer sellers to promote Vista.
The CompUSA store on Route 17 in Paramus has set up a Vista display wall that greets customers as they walk in the door. The store's "Vista Pro," William Buckingham, was on hand to give store visitors a guided tour of the Vista computing landscape, which included added features such as a notepad on the main menu screen for jotting down reminders, and parental controls that can shut down the computer at the hour when their children are supposed to start their homework.
"Most of the people who walk in the door are looking at it," Buckingham said. "They usually ask, 'What does it do? What's the difference?' " he said.
"The response has been great," said store manager Gus Promollo, adding that the store "sold quite a few" of the Vista software packages Tuesday morning, during the first hours it was available to the public.
CompUSA is offering a fail-safe return policy on Vista -- if you hire one of their technicians to install Vista on your computer, and you don't like the new system, they will reinstall your old one.
The Best Buy store across the highway, at Westfield Garden State Plaza, also reported strong interest in Vista. Most of the interest, they said, came from the computer-savvy shoppers who usually want the next big thing.
Mike Pace of Garfield, checking out the Best Buy Vista display, said he's one of those early adopters. "I need to have the latest stuff," said Pace, a computer technician for a North Jersey publishing company.
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