While its hardware support for Vista continues, Intel will not adopt Vista at its facilities, according to reports; Microsoft extends XP support to 2014
Intel, the world's largest microprocessor manufacturer, has stuck with operating system maker Microsoft through good times and bad. The pair have worked closely together one every modern Windows release and have even shared some common unpleasant experiences -- like being subjected to Federal Trade Commission investigations.
However, times have changed and suddenly, according to inside reports Intel has shockingly snubbed Microsoft's flagship product, Windows Vista. Intel, which has over 80,000 employees with workstations, will not change its computers over to Vista. This marks the first time that Intel would have bypassed a major Windows generation, if the reports from the key inside source hold true.
While Intel's acceptance or rejection may be a largely symbolic blow, it is part of a far broader trend of companies refusing to adopt Windows Vista, discussed previously here at DailyTech. While consumer adoption has languished slightly due to some complaints about compatibility, features, and resource consumption, these problems are exponentially greater in the business world, which operates largely on somewhat antiquated hardware.
A lengthy analysis by Intel's internal technology of the costs versus benefits of Vista adoption led to the decision. According to the insider, who request anonymity due to possible damage to Microsoft and Intel's relationship, the conclusion drawn was that the cost of expensive hardware upgrades to cope with what some call Vista's "bloat" or high memory, CPU, and graphics demands would simply be too costly for the small benefits provided.
Said the insider, "This isn??™t a matter of dissing Microsoft, but Intel information technology staff just found no compelling case for adopting Vista."
An Intel spokesman did not acknowledge the reports, but refused to directly deny them either. He said Vista was seeing very limited deployment within certain company groups, but as a whole was not currently being adopted.
So much for "Wintel" said some. The term was coined in the early days of the PC industry, and since both Windows and Intel have been nearly synonymous with the personal computer. Word of the rift first broke on the sardonic British tech news site The Inquirer and has since been covered by major news outlets, including the New York Times.
The Times points out aptly that Intel may change its mind at some point. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, regularly meets with Paul Otellini, Intel??™s chief executive, and Ballmer is known both for being a good salesman and for his penchant for forceful aggression.
David Smith, a Gartner analyst, says Intel and other company's rejection of Vista is not wholly abnormal -- there is a typical waiting period before next-gen OS adoption. However, Vista, he says has almost passed that period and is troublingly receiving little support. He states, "But by 18 months, you??™d expect to see a significant uptake, and we haven??™t seen that. There??™s not much excitement."
In an average generation, according to Gartner, 30 percent of customers skip the OS. That number will be much higher for Vista, according to Gartner. Gartner is also advising its only clients against Vista adoption. With 140 million Vista copies worldwide, the OS is by no means a failure. However it??™s failed to renew the enthusiasm engendered by Windows XP.
Windows XP will be discontinued at the end of the month, though its popularity remains. PC makers are capitalizing on strong sales through loopholes and will continue to sell XP systems after, but likely at a markup.
Microsoft has responded to the strong demand by extending the XP Home and Media Center support lifespan by 5 years. Until now the scheduled cutoff date was January 2009. The extension will last till May 2014. The extension means that Microsoft will continue to deliver non-security upgrades for 5 more years. XP Pro had already received a similar extension.
Some see the move as an acknowledgement of Vista??™s struggles. Microsoft gave no official explanation for its decision to extend support.
Microsoft hopes to regain is vigor with the release of Windows 7, which is slated to go on sale around holiday season 2009. In the meantime it is left to lick its wounds, particularly the most recent painful one in the form of a snub from a trusted friend.