U.S. DOT bans Vista, IE 7 and Office 2007

Dennis Faas's picture

Recently, Information week obtained a memo citing concerns over cost and compatibility issues by the federal U.S. Department Of Transportation (DOT) in January 2007, prohibiting thousands of federal workers from upgrading to Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) and Office 2007.

The DOT's Chief Information Officer (CIO) placed an "indefinite moratorium" on the upgrades since "there appears to be no compelling technical or business case for upgrading to these Microsoft software products. Furthermore, there appears to be specific reasons not to upgrade."

"Microsoft Vista, Office 2007, and Internet Explorer (7) may be acquired for testing purposes only, though only on approval by the DOT Chief Information Officer" Mintz writes. Some of the concerns cited by Mintz are compatibility with software applications currently in use at the DOT, the cost of an upgrade, and the DOT's move to new headquarters in Washington later this year.

Information Week interviewed the DOT Chief Technology Officer Tim Schmidt, who confirmed that the ban is still in effect. The DOT is analyzing different client software options as well as integration issues. Options being weighed as an alternative or compliment to Windows Vista include Novell's Suse Linux and Apple's Macintosh hardware and software.

According to Schmidt, the DOT hasn't ruled out upgrading their computers to Windows Vista if all their concerns can be resolved. The DOT's ban on Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 7 and Office 2007 applies to 15,000 computer users who currently run Windows XP Professional. The memo also indicates that a similar ban is in effect at the Federal Aviation Administration, which has 45,000 computer users.

A separate memo issued by the DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicates that a number of key software applications and utilities used in various branches of the DOT aren't Windows Vista compatible. Some of the applications listed include Aspen 3.8.1, ISS 2.11, ProVu 3.1.1 and Capri 6.5.

What affect this "indefinite moratorium" has on Microsoft remains to be seen, but it could have a significant impact. Microsoft sells millions of dollars in software to the federal government annually.

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