Seven out of ten users prefer to use thin clients, when offered a choice of experiences.

That’s according to a survey carried out by Winmark, a research company commissioned by Wyse which is - guess what - a thin client vendor. According to Wyse, the survey suggests that there’s no practical reason for an enterprise not to move to thin clients on their desktop, and, that the enterprise market would be dominated by thin client terminals in 15 years’ time.

When 110 respondents were tested on two separate screens and keyboards, without knowing which one was a PC and which was a thin client, 61 percent of the respondents preferred the thin client experience, while only 26 percent preferred the PCs.

Although the results favoured thin clients, Stephen Yeo, Wyse's European marketing director, said that the test had been designed to be as fair as possible. "We used a two-year-old PC but we thought that represented an average business machine."

But although Wyse said that the test had been fairly devised. Yeo admitted that they’d left applications open on the thin client server as "that replicated what would happen in real life." He did add, however, that he would be happy to replicate the test in association with a PC vendor "as long as there was a fair referee". Yeo said that the tests were not timed and the results only dealt with user perceptions - "we’re only talking about a few seconds difference".

Yeo said the tests showed that there was no objective reason why thin clients were not as popular as PCs. He said that although thin clients had only two-and-a-half percent of the enterprise now, in 10 or 15 years’ time, more than 50 percent of the enterprise market would be based on thin clients. "We started with terminals and moved to PCs - the pendulum’s going to go back."

Except, that is, the enormous per-seat cost of Citrix which still makes PCs make financial sense. But while Citrix is trying to make the most of a comparatively small market, Wyse may be right with its thin-client pendulum prediction as others are starting to enter the market.

The arrival of companies such as Jetro and GraphOn, offering the same abilities as Citrix but at a lower cost, and with Microsoft expanding its Windows Terminal Services (WTS), the thin client is looking its most viable since those days that "thin clients vs PC" was never far from a conference PowerPoint presentation.

Microsoft was invited to give its perspective on Wyse's claims but declined to comment.