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Commentary: Look before leaping to XP

Office XP represents a solid, incremental upgrade, but many enterprises are having a hard time justifying it in terms of cost.

    By Michael Silver, Gartner Analyst

    Office XP represents a solid, incremental upgrade, but many enterprises are having a hard time justifying it in terms of cost.

    Office XP offers some interesting features for collaboration, such as SharePoint Team services. Moreover, the software also provides some useful end-user features, such as Smart Tags and Task Panes.

    However, enterprises need to figure out how to use those features to enhance their businesses before upgrading to the product. That could involve cultural change and application development, which require time and effort.

    Enterprises that decide to upgrade, but do not have Enterprise Agreements or Upgrade Advantage, need to act before Oct. 1 to get a lower price because Microsoft plans to change its licensing and upgrading policies as of that date. Enterprises do not have to install the product before Oct. 1, but they will need to make the purchase by then to save some money.

    Microsoft's new licensing and upgrading strategy will push revenue for Office XP. Gartner believes that Office revenue could go as high as $800 million before the beginning of October. The product will also advance Microsoft's .Net strategy by linking Office more strongly with Internet-based services.

    Enterprises should review the new features in Office XP and decide whether upgrading would be worth the cost and effort. Unless they can identify specific features that could provide an acceptable return on investment, enterprises already running Office 2000 may benefit from skipping this new version and waiting for the next Office release.

    See news story:
    Microsoft, corporate friends push new Office
    Gartner's recommendation: Enterprises that are planning Windows 2000 migrations at the end of this year or early next year, and that are including Office 2000 upgrades in their plans, should consider skipping Office 2000 and moving to Office XP.

    (For related commentary on whether it makes sense to move to Microsoft's XP offerings, see registration required.)

    Entire contents, Copyright ? 2001 Gartner, Inc. All rights reserved. The information contained herein represents Gartner's initial commentary and analysis and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Positions taken are subject to change as more information becomes available and further analysis is undertaken. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof.