The official release of Microsoft's Windows 7 last week could mark the beginning of a turn toward 64-bit computing in the business sector as companies embark on long overdue upgrades to a new operating system.

The consumer market has been trending from 32-bit systems toward 64-bit computing for the past several years, with chipmakers like Intel and AMD introducing 64-bit processors for the mass market as far back as 2003.

To date, however, enterprises have held off on the architecture due to concerns about cost, compatibility, and the notion that 64-bit computing is overkill for most office apps.

But with Windows XP, still the OS of choice for most corporations, getting long in the tooth, the market is primed for a move to newer technology. "With a Windows 7 migration looming, it's time for corporate customers to do some thinking about 64-bit," wrote Gartner analyst Brian Gammage, in a blog post.

"The bottom line is that at some point in the next five years, you very likely will be moving to a 64-bit operating environment and Windows 7 may be the right time to make the move," said Gammage.

Full story: InformationWeek