Vista-related opportunities loom large on horizon

Microsoft Vista might officially go on sale Monday at midnight, but for many government customers the transition to the new operating system began about a year ago.

The transition to Vista, and other software projects related to it, will lead to opportunities for system integrators and IT contractors, according to a Microsoft-commissioned study by International Data Corp. of Framingham, Mass.

Vista will create business opportunities primarily because the software continues to be the most prevalent operating system on desktop computers worldwide.

"There's been a really significant effort to get this right because ultimately this software will run across 500 million PCs worldwide, so with the launch tomorrow it will be available to our customers in over 40,000 retail stores," said Michael Ferreri, a Microsoft general manager.

The new software suite will not only create an opportunity for Microsoft, he said, but also "for the tens of thousands of customers and business partners around [Washington, D.C.] and across the globe to create businesses serving others through that technology," he said.

Vista could help foster new business opportunities involving training, building new applications and redesigning the way other businesses work, Ferreri said.

Windows Vista will be installed on about 1.7 million computers and could create more than $3.5 billion in products and related services for Microsoft partners, the study found. The spike in work isn't likely to catch system integrators by surprise, said John Gantz, chief research officer and senior vice president of IDC.

"When I look at the ratio of the net new jobs compared to the overall employment base, it doesn't look like an outrageous one-time spike," Gantz said.

The product development leading up to tonight's launch will be followed by a need for deployment and support services, Gantz said. Two years from now work related to Vista will focus on support, he said.

In its first year of shipment, Vista-related employment will reach 17 percent of total IT employment, or 122,000 jobs, the study found.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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