Gartner's Silver does not believe it is wise to hang on to XP in hopes that Windows 7 is a more appealing OS than Vista. Even if Windows 7 ships in late 2011, as currently expected, it will take two years for the OS to become stable and software and hardware to be made compatible. Should Windows 7 be delayed, XP users at that point will find themselves outside the security support window, he noted. That would be too dangerous for larger companies, because their own internal transition times would add another year or two to the effort once they were comfortable with a Windows 7 transition.
IDC's Gillen said businesses today should buy Vista Business or Vista Ultimate on all new PCs today, even if they use the "downgrade" rights that let them put XP Pro on those systems instead. (These rights do not extend to other versions of Vista.) By buying either of those Vista versions now, they can have XP today and upgrade to Vista later without having to buy a separate Vista license when they do upgrade. Small businesses may not realize they have this option, Gillen noted.
Consumer users have the fewest options, adds Gillen. If they buy a PC with any Vista version other than Business or Ultimate, they won't have "downgrade" rights to XP Pro, nor will they be able to get new XP licenses after June 30 through retail stores or online sellers like Dell or Hewlett-Packard.