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Microsoft: Vista’s enterprise momentum will ‘accrue’ for Windows 7

Despite Windows Vista's widespread reputation as a resounding failure, it is actually more popular with big businesses than predecessor Windows XP was at the same time after its release, a Microsoft Corp. executive said on Thursday.

“Adoption and deployment of Windows Vista has been slightly ahead of where we had been with XP,” said Tami Reller, corporate vice-president and CFO for the Windows Business division at Microsoft, during a Q&A session at the Cowen and Company Technology Media and Telecom Conference.

“We also have a number of enterprises that are mid-cycle, that are doing a tremendous amount of testing, planning and training, and getting ready for Vista. That will clearly accrue to what they do with Vista and/or Windows 7,” Reller said. “That will accelerate Windows 7 adoption.”

Reller's statement jibes with Microsoft's recent profits for Windows, which, while down, remain huge.

In its most recent third quarter, operating income for the Windows client division was $2.5 billion, down 19% from the year before. Microsoft blamed decreased PC sales to businesses combined with lower profits per consumer PC sold due to the rise of netbooks, which run the less-expensive Windows XP.

It also jibes with stories last year that showed that for all the instant nostalgia over XP, Vista's predecessor was likely slower to catch on with users than Vista itself was, at least among businesses.

Reller answered cautiously, however, when asked whether Windows 7 would “inspire” many companies to “refresh” or upgrade their PCs.

“There definitely is some level of motivation factor, but from a financial planning standpoint, we don't bake a tremendous amount of that in,” she said.

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