The IT departments, any new version of software is an unknown quantity--particularly an operating system.
Businesses have typically waited until after the first service pack release of Windows before upgrading, sometimes for reasons related to ‘first release bugs’ or compatibility issues. But research firm Gartner believes that no such waiting is required for Windows 7. That said, most businesses’ implementation schedules run long enough that Microsoft has usually already released SP1 even if firms planned to adopt the new OS as soon as possible.
“The first Service Pack for Windows 7 is not necessary for the operating system's stability and security readiness,” asserted Gartner’s Michael A. Silver. “However, organizations likely won't be ready to deploy Windows 7 before SP1 ships, so they will include it in their initial deployments.
“Windows 7 is an incremental update to Windows Vista, but many independent software vendors (ISVs) will not support their applications running on it for six to 12 months or more. Service Pack 1 (SP1) should be released well before organizations are ready to deploy Windows 7, so they should plan to integrate SP1.”
Silver added that SP1 does not represent the milestone it used to--calling it a “Bogus milestone for OS readiness in general”--and that the bigger beta testing group helps to ensure a more stable and compatible product. The Windows 7 beta is reported to have a testing pool more than five times larger than that of Windows 95.
While overall Windows 7 is regarded as a stable and safe upgrade for businesses, one area that Gartner cautions is the built-in browser. As more companies begin to rely on applications that run from within a browser, the addition of a new version--in this case Internet Explorer 8--adds a completely new layer of compatibility concerns.
In fact, we discovered earlier this week that some users of the new Internet Explorer 8 have reverted back to version 7 for the very reason of compatibility.