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Microsoft Vista Operating System Adoption

On January 30, 2007, Microsoft began selling its long awaited new Vista Operating System software. According to a recent Harris Poll, a full 87 percent of those online say they were "aware" of Vista.

Microsoft has invested heavily in promotion, to get the word out about Vista, and their marketing machine appears to be running at full throttle. In December of 2006, one month before launch, only 47 percent of those online were aware of Vista's existence. So awareness has apparently skyrocketed since December.

These are just some of the results of a Harris Poll of 2,223 U.S. online adults conducted online between March 6 and 14, 2007 by Harris Interactive. This survey was conducted about six weeks after the release of Microsoft's Vista Operating System and is the second Harris Interactive survey about Vista.

An initial online survey was conducted between November 30 and December 11, 2006, before the launch of Vista, among 1,028 U.S. online adults. Similar questions were asked in both surveys, with an objective to compare and contrast changes in consumer attitude and purchase behavior prior to and after the introduction of the new operating system.

Now that Vista is available everywhere and nearly every potential buyer is aware of it, does that mean consumers are eager to buy new Vista systems, or upgrade their existing systems? Well in December 2006, 20 percent of those online adults who are aware said they intended to upgrade to Vista within the coming year.

The current survey results indicate that number has declined to 12 percent of online adults who are aware say they intended to upgrade. Unfortunately for Microsoft, with awareness skyrocketing, the results clearly show that the numbers have not grown for those intending to upgrade their system.

In fact, the majority of online adults say they will not upgrade their system in the next 12 months. However, Vista has turned a few heads with those considering purchasing a new system. In December 2006, 15 percent of online adults who were aware of Vista said they would wait for Vista to be released before buying their next PC.

True to form, the March 2007 survey found that 20 percent did in fact wait for Vista before opening their wallet. Looking forward from here, one in five (20 percent) online adults said Vista will accelerate their purchase decision while three in five (60 percent) said Vista has no impact on their purchase plans.

According to Milton Ellis, Vice President of Harris Interactive's Technology Group, "In order to generate that WOW factor, Microsoft will have to put forth a value proposition that will move the majority to the upgrade category in the years ahead. Vista promised better performance, reliability, security, and a revolutionary user interface."

"But it appears consumers looking to upgrade are not ready to buy into the promise whereas new computer buyers will want the latest and greatest. Microsoft has faced this challenge before with operating system upgrades. Consumers tend to wait until a few service packs have been released to fix real or perceived problems. No doubt, Microsoft understands theses issues and will proceed accordingly."

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