Microsoft customers are walking – not running – toward implementing the software giant’s new technologies and practices, according to a new IDC study. IDC surveyed more than 300 information managers known to be Windows NT or Windows 2000 users and uncovered responses to Licensing 6.0 terms, receptiveness to Windows XP and the Windows.Net server family, as well as adoption rates for Active Directory.

"Most Microsoft customers will continue to follow the Windows road map, with broad plans for Active Directory deployment. However, users say their movement to Microsoft's latest operating systems will proceed on their schedule, not on Microsoft's schedule," comments Al Gillen, research manager for IDC’s Operating Environments service.

In terms of purchasing plans, Licensing 6.0 does not appear to have a dramatic impact on most users, the survey finds. The majority of IT managers surveyed by IDC are either still evaluating the new licensing process effects or are not concerned with the changes it introduces. However, 15.4 percent of survey respondents say that Licensing 6.0 provides them incentive to seek alternate products, citing the increase in Microsoft’s software licensing cost as the primary reason.

"The bigger picture shows that few customers will be replacing their Microsoft technology with alternate products over the short term, so competitive products need to continue to offer a strong story of interoperability with Microsoft environments," Gillen says. No apparent rush is expected by businesses to adopt Windows XP or Windows.Net, especially because many IT managers are still implementing Windows 2000, IDC says. Three out of four companies report that they are only at the beginning stages of this adoption process with many smaller organizations further along than larger companies.

Active Directory adoption appears to coincide with the implementation of Windows 2000. For a majority of users, Active Directory is the directory service of choice for their Windows environments, but Active Directory has also been a reason for delaying implementation of the server operating environment. In fact, according to IDC’s survey, 36 percent of respondents have delayed their Windows 2000 rollouts because of the complexity associated with Active Directory.

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