After a survey of corporate customers, one Wall Street analyst cuts his expectations for revenue and profit growth

By Aaron Ricadela

June 11, BusinessWeek

Microsoft has irked consumers and corporate customers with the most recent version of its Windows operating system, which they complain requires hefty investments in PC hardware and offers a paucity of compelling new features in return. Now there are signs that companies' reluctance to install Vista is starting to weigh on Wall Street's outlook for the company's stock.

Charles Di Bona, a senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein and a noted bull on Microsoft (MSFT), said in a June 10 report that "dampening" adoption of Vista by corporate customers will shave $395 million in revenues and 2¢ a share in earnings from the company's financial results for the 2009 fiscal year, which begins July 1. According to a Bernstein Web survey of 372 information technology professionals fielded in May, companies expect just 26% of their PCs to be running Vista by the beginning of 2011, down from an estimate of nearly 68% of computers by respondents to a similar survey a year ago.

Shares Down for the Year

The new survey, conducted primarily in the U.S. in conjunction with Ziff Davis Media and Peerstone Research, also shows Vista's requirement of running on PCs crammed with lots of memory and powerful processors to be a deterrent. Companies expect to install Vista on only about 10% of the PCs they already own, compared with estimates last year that they'd be able to do so on 27% of their machines.

"It seems like the IT community has turned tepid to negative" on Vista, says Di Bona in an interview. "There aren't any features in there they find compelling—even ones that haven't had bad PR." For example, companies said in the survey that they were indifferent to Vista's Windows Presentation Foundation technology for building visually compelling programs, according to Di Bona.

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photo: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)