I remember back in the days where migrating to new software was anticipated by most. People looked forward to getting the newer code that likely meant a more stable experience. Stability was the primary reason for desiring the change, it seems. They didn’t care that they would have to re-learn the changes incorporated into the software, as long as it meant that it would crash less and that they wouldn’t have to worry about losing data as a result.
It seems that since the days of Windows 2000 and Office XP, software reached a level of stability that most users became comfortable with. Even to this day, Windows XP and Office 2003 seems to be the key choice among the corporate world. The migration from Windows 2000 to Windows XP was relatively painless. Everything pretty much worked the way it did from a users standpoint between the two systems.
Windows Vista and Office 2007 didn’t bring much to the table in terms of stability. In fact, some could even argue that Vista is a step backwards in that area. Office 2007′s main argument to use it over 2003 was that it’s new interface would increase productivity with the redesigned UI and Ribbon toolbar. Of course, users would have to be re-trained, so it might be some time before that “productivity” starts to show. :)
Then there’s the security argument. A valid argument at that… for those who understand it. Unfortunately, this ventures in the world of being something people don’t care about until it directly affects them in a largely negative way. Kinda like your doctor telling you repeatedly to exercise, and you ignore it until you have a heart attack.
Forget the fact that Vista was poorly done. Office 2007 wasn’t, yet the push to it was not nearly as urgent as 2003. Why is that? Software companies such as Microsoft are starting to become more aggressive about expiring support for older products. One could argue their motives are financially driven. Microsoft is just itching to pull the plug on XP, so they can begin to recuperate their losses from Vista.
Software has been coming to this point for quite some time now. The kinds of things you use a computer for hasn’t drastically changed in the past decade or so. If anything, they’re attempting to shift the focus into the cloud, but only to accomplish the same task. Whether or not cloud apps will ever be able to overtake local apps is another argument.
It all comes down to what the end user wants. It used to be stability. Most people feel that software reached an acceptable point in stability on that timeline a while ago. Their willingness to try something new just because of it’s prettier UI or couple of quirky new features they’d probably rarely ever user is just not enough anymore. Security is not a good enough reason for them, and it never will be. People will never be proactive about doing their own backups. We’ve reached the point to where we, as IT professionals, have to start pushing end users to move forward, catching hell for it along the way. Unless something changes in the world of IT, it’s only going to continue to be harder to do our jobs… not easier. That sucks.