Windows 7: Managed Service Providers Weigh In

Windows 7 continues to generate mostly positive buzz among beta testers, but that doesn't mean managed service providers (MSPs) expect to generate big profits from the forthcoming successor to Windows Vista. In fact, most MSPs see little revenue opportunity attached to Windows 7, according to our weekly MSPmentor reader poll.

We asked readers: Will Windows 7 create significant revenue opportunities for MSPs? The answers from 84 poll participants:

  • Absolutely yes: 14%
  • I believe so: 24%
  • I doubt it: 57%
  • Absolutely not: 5%
Clearly, the IT channel has changed since the glory days of Windows. Hardware makers, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), ISVs (independent software vendors) and channel partners used to plan their entire year around a major Microsoft Windows upgrade.

But as the center of the computing universe shifted from Windows to the Internet, the most successful channel partners transformed from pure Microsoft resellers into IT consultants and managed service providers.

I do believe MSPs will find opportunities to assist customers with Windows 7 deployments, but most of those efforts will involve PC and notebook hardware refreshes rather than software upgrades on existing PCs. I also wonder if Windows 7 will drive hardware as a service (HaaS) discussions between MSPs and their customers.

To Microsoft's credit, the early buzz on Windows 7 beta code has been positive. But the upgrade is only one item on a broader checklist of opportunities for MSPs.

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