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For Small Biz: To Vista Or Not--That Is The Question.

Despite the countless dollars and time that Microsoft has invested in its new operating system--now expected to debut some time in early 2007--most small businesses don't expect to upgrade to the new operating system when it finally becomes available, according to a Small Business Pipeline poll.

Only 14 percent of respondents said they would be definitely upgrading to Vista. Rather, a whopping 77 percent said they were going to stick with what they were currently using until Vista proved stable. Nine percent said they hadn't yet decided.

Small business advisors have differing opinions as to whether small businesses should upgrade. Many are concerned that the new operating system will cause small businesses--who are typically not flush with cash--to have to invest significantly in additional hardware and software. The actual cost of upgrading could be several times the cost of the operating system alone. Any new operating system also takes time to learn, and at least early on, tends to have an inordinate share of bugs.

Yet there are those small businesses that will benefit from Vista when it finally becomes available, says Jason Harrison, president of Harrison Technology Consulting, a Nashville, Tenn.-based technology consulting company that specializes in advising small business.

Harrison has been working with the beta version of Vista ever since it became available.

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