Vista Outlook Not as Cloudy?

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Bill Gates is more Daddy Warbucks than Little Orphan Annie, but his new mantra might well be "The sun will come out tomorrow."

The software-spending picture for the rest of 2006 is considerably brighter than it was three months ago, and Microsoft (Quote, Chart) has the most reason to be pleased, according to results of a quarterly survey of corporate spending intentions conducted by Merrill Lynch.

A significant majority of executives responsible for IT spending at their companies said they will spend more on software in 2006 than they did in 2005.

Only 47 percent of those surveyed made the same claim in January, compared with 59 percent in the new survey, conducted in July.

The survey also showed Microsoft holding onto or solidifying its traditional strengths while posting significant gains elsewhere.

It even showed the Redmond, Wash., software vendor overcoming missteps related to its Vista launch.

Fifteen percent of executives said they plan to upgrade to Vista in 2007, compared with just 8 percent only three months before.

Another 19 percent plan to upgrade in 2008, versus 13 percent in the previous survey.

The Merrill Lynch analysts attribute this improved outlook to the fact that customers are less worried about Vista release dates.

Less than half (39 percent) of respondents said they were waiting for clarity around Vista and its launch, compared with 75 percent in April.

Perhaps the most startling aspect of the survey is Microsoft's surge in mindshare in the burgeoning field of service-oriented architecture (SOA) (define).

A whopping 80 percent of executives pegged SOA as the "next big thing" in enterprise software.

CIOs were asked to name three companies as their SOA vendor and rank them one through three.

Microsoft was the overwhelming favorite, with 33 of 79 votes ranking them No. 1, versus 23 for IBM (Quote, Chart), 16 for Oracle (Quote, Chart) and 13 for SAP (Quote, Chart).

IBM had held the top spot in Merrill Lynch's previous survey.

This article was first published on InternetNews.com. To read the full article, click here.

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