The European client services business manager for Dell has gone public with problems in the transition to Windows Vista.

Dell is “stepping back” from telling people they must upgrade. “We are set up to give people all the guidance and support they need for this,” Niall Fitzgerald said yesterday. “We are not here to promote Microsoft and tell people they should buy it. We can show them the advantages of Vista and what they need to put in place to begin to move across.”

Application migration is a key area, Fitzgerald said, echoing comments from Gartner on the size of the issue and the need for considerable testing. “You have to allow time for testing,” he said. “Vista is big and complex and there is a lot to it. It requires a lot of testing. You can’t just shut off XP on Friday and start Vista on Monday morning. There will be training. There are things to learn.”

When a manufacturer that’s in the business of selling hardware and services has to explicitly warn its customers of significant extra demands of Vista, those demands have to be pretty severe.

Of course, Dell’s shied away from wearing Redmond’s brand in other ways. They went maverick when they started shipping Ubuntu Linux on specific systems to U.S. customers in May. When they announced pricing, Ars Technica did the math and concluded the Windows tax is $50 a head.

Is this corporate politics, or is the burden of transitioning to Vista that severe? Join the discussion.