Joe Wilcox includes some astonishing facts in "Why ‘Seven’ and Not SP1?":
But there are a whole bunch of other businesses that haven’t renewed their licensing contracts. In a recent Forrester Research survey, 86 percent of IT procurement professionals from companies with 3,000 or more employees said that their Software Assurance contracts would expire in 2007. Fifty-seven percent either won’t renew their contracts or are uncertain about renewing. For these hold outs, the "when" of Windows 7 could affect whether or not they renew and for how long.
Fifty-seven percent? That’s an astounding number of "uncertains" for what’s one of Microsoft’s cash cows. The interesting question – and one which I’m sure Microsoft is researching the heck out of – is why they’re holding out. Is it uncertainty over the future of Windows? Or is it simply that there’s no compelling reason to upgrade from XP, now or within the next few years?
It’s increasingly difficult to see what Microsoft can add to its system to tempt corporate customers to upgrade, without falling foul of anti-trust. Vista is probably about as secure as you can get Windows without throwing out compatibility with older applications entirely, and no one really wants more features from their OS – they just want it to be more reliable and secure.