Enterprises Hanging on to Legacy Microsoft Apps

Forrester Research found that enterprises predominantly use Windows and Internet Explorer, but they're currently sticking with the older Microsoft technologies.

A Forrester Research study found that enterprises predominantly use Windows and Internet Explorer, but they're currently sticking with the older Microsoft technologies. The report is based on a sample of nearly 52,000 visitors to the Forrester Web site in the second half of 2008.

More than 96 percent in the study ran some version of Windows. However, enterprises preferred the older Windows XP (87.7 percent) over Microsoft's current flagship Windows Vista (10.5 percent) operating system.

Vista operating system use in the enterprise hit the double-digit mark in November, representing a relatively slow adoption rate. Meanwhile, enterprises have been anticipating the release of Windows 7, currently at beta.

For that reason, Windows 7 could prove to be "the nail in the coffin" for Vista, according to Thomas Mendel, Forrester analyst and the report's coauthor.

Other operating systems lagged in the enterprise. The Macintosh OS grabbed a 3.3 percent market share in December, up from 2.7 percent in July. However, the report's authors advised software vendors to be pragmatic about providing platform support and to "forget about Macs" unless aiming for a specific business vertical.

Enterprise users have also been clinging to Microsoft's legacy Web browser. For instance, while Internet Explorer held 78 percent of the enterprise browser market share in December, the majority (60.2 percent) used the older IE 6 version.

For that reason, Microsoft's lack of support for IE 6.0 "is bordering on insanity" for enterprise users, the report's authors suggested.

The Firefox browser took a small bite into IE's enterprise market share. Firefox use increased from 16.9 percent in July to 18.2 percent in December.

The bite was even smaller with Google's Chrome browser, which was introduced last September. Chrome use increased from 1.6 percent at the time of its introduction to 2 percent at the close of the report period. Chrome finished ahead of Apple's Safari (1.4 percent) and Opera (0.2 percent) browsers, according to the report.

Flash and Java continue to dominate the functionality side of Web browsing, with both winning "universal acceptance" in the enterprise. Flash and Java are making their way into conservative enterprise architectures to complement business applications as developers focus on providing rich user experiences, according to the report.

Forrester's report, "Enterprise Platform Trends, H2: 2008," is designed to aid independent software vendor decision-making. In addition to data on OS and browser market share, it provides data on screen-resolution and color-depth trends in the enterprise.

About the Author

Herb Torrens is an award-winning freelance writer based in Southern California. He managed the MCSP program for a leading computer telephony integrator for more than five years and has worked with numerous solution providers including HP/Compaq, Nortel, and Microsoft in all forms of media.

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