In a nod to Microsoft’s undeniable marketing prowess, we’ve decided to address these as the below “five Ps” (anyone who has ever studied marketing knows that the core of marketing theory is built around a concept called the “four Ps” - but ours are a little different from the originals).
A complete personal user license for Vista is priced at $199. If you’re upgrading from a previous version, that price comes down to $99.95. But of course the price of the operating system is just the beginning. Most people will also need to upgrade their hardware (or buy a whole new PC). For a short period (which ended last month) some users were able to get an “Express Upgrade” from their hardware vendor, but that is no longer an option. Of course, like Microsoft, Outpost wants to keep its customers (and keep its customers happy), that’s why we provide ongoing upgrade subscriptions. Unlike Microsoft, we don’t ask our customers to spend more than the advertised price of the subscription.
How do you decide it’s time to abandon the tried and true XP and move to Vista? At this time, with relatively few Vista-compatible products on the market - at least Vista-compatible products that have been thoroughly tested - you’re unlikely to be tempted by exciting new applications available only for that platform. However, as noted earlier, the media is writing about Vista constantly, so the feeling is bound to grow in the user community that this is a technology one must have, rather than one that would be nice to have. And there are other messages coming through other channels that are designed to influence your buying timetable. No doubt about it, the Microsoft marketing machine is a force to be reckoned with. Very few software companies (and Agnitum is not one of them) have the luxury of spending this much marketing money to maintain or increase market share.
Of course, as soon as Vista shipped, every software vendor was being asked when their products would be Vista-compatible. This PRESSure (and yes, much of it comes from the press) is particularly felt by us security vendors, since Vista purports to be the most secure version of Windows yet. Which in turn means it is harder than ever for third party security vendors to ensure that their products are fully compatible with Vista over the long term. That’s why we are spending so much time testing and debugging our Vista-compatible products - we don’t want to deliver something that works now, but will break when Vista security is patched (as we know it will be - and long before the first service pack comes out).
Many third-party vulnerability monitoring sites and services such as Secunia’s reports are already reporting multiple unpatched vulnerabilities in Vista and problems with the included firewall and other “security” measures. Although Vista is significantly less vulnerable than XP, it’s important to remember that operating systems are designed to do many different things, whereas a company like Agnitum produces products designed to do one thing - protect Windows PCs. We admit to being on the side of the “best of breed” advocates, rather than the “good enough” crowd when it comes to system security.
We cheated a bit with this heading, as porting is usually used to describe moving code between operating systems and we want to talk about people moving between operating systems. But we couldn’t think of a synonym for migration that started with ‘p’ …
As Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, put it: “I'm really excited about how enthusiastic everybody is about Vista. But people have to understand that some of the revenue forecasts I've seen out there for Windows Vista in fiscal year 2008 are overly aggressive." Third-party opinion seems to support that view. Here are a couple of excerpts from related surveys:
“According to a survey by Boca Raton, Fla.-based Amplitude Research conducted on behalf of Albuquerque, N.M.-based security firm VanDyke Software, more than half of respondents said they have no plans to deploy Vista when it comes out, despite all of the security improvements that Microsoft says will be baked into the operating system”. (SearchCIO.com)
Gartner research indicates “that Vista will be running on less than 10 percent of PCs in the installed base by the end of 2007, rising to 29.3 percent in 2008, 50 percent in 2009 and 67.7 percent by the end of 2010”.
We also conducted our own survey on migration intentions among our user base and will post the results here shortly - we don’t expect the results to differ much from other results.
And what does all of this tell us? It tells us that
- Microsoft is a very effective marketer
- Users welcome the concept of a more secure operating system, but many are waiting for proof before they spend money on the necessary new or upgraded hardware
- There is no rush to create Vista-compatible versions of software, because customers choose the applications they want to run before they choose the platforms they want to run those applications on.
Global Vice President of Sales and Marketing