Windows 7 to salvage Vista 'train wreck'

Oct 18, 2009 by Glenn Chapman
Microsoft releases Windows 7 to the world on Thursday as the US software giant tries to regain its stride after an embarrassing stumble with the previous generation operating system Vista.

Microsoft releases Windows 7 to the world on Thursday as the US software giant tries to regain its stride after an embarrassing stumble with the previous generation operating system Vista.

"It's a big deal for Microsoft," analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in said of the launch. "Windows Vista was a train wreck."

While computer users may not give much thought to that serve as the brains of their machines, the programs are at the heart of Microsoft's global empire.

Microsoft operating systems run more than 90 percent of the computers on Earth.

Importantly for Microsoft, versions of its popular programs such as Office, Outlook and Excel evolve to work better with successive Windows releases.

Winning users of new Windows systems translates into increased sales of other packaged software for the Redmond, Washington-based company.

Vista's dismal reception in the market broke Microsoft's rhythm regarding hooking people on upgraded software.

Computer users held firm to Windows XP, shunning much-maligned Vista.

"Microsoft is still a packaged software company," Enderle said. "If people don't buy their updated packages, they feel it."

Microsoft apparently learned a lesson from Vista and worked closely with computer makers, users and software developers while crafting Windows 7.

More than eight million people have dabbled with Windows 7 since Microsoft began a beta test phase in January, according to Parri Munsell, director of consumer product management for the Windows client group.

Early reviews praise Windows 7 for being everything Vista should have been.

"We always listen to our customers, but we took an even more thoughtful and pragmatic process this time around," Munsell told AFP. "We feel really good that people have been trying it for themselves."

Windows 7 features winning raves include enabling computers, televisions, radios, digital picture frames and other "smart" devices in homes to talk to each other.

Windows 7 also lets people use PCs to record television programs and then watch shows "on demand" at any Internet-linked computer using Microsoft's Live service.

Touch-screen capabilities built into Windows 7 should give birth to monitors that further blur lines between televisions and PCs, according to Munsell.

Microsoft's primary objective with Windows 7 was to simplify the lives of PC users, according to Munsell.

"This is going to be the next XP where it sticks around for a very long time," said analyst Matt Rosoff of Directions On Microsoft, a private firm focused on tracking the software firm.

"It performs well with a lot of hardware and software, and then it gets out of the way. It is not flashy, but it is solid."

He added that Windows 7 works "surprisingly well" on netbooks -- low-cost bare-bones laptop computers that have devoured market share in the recent grim economic times.

Windows 7 will be available pre-loaded on personal computers as of Thursday, and people who bought Vista machines in recent months will be able to upgrade free.

Upgrading a home computer to Windows 7 will cost from 120 dollars to 220 dollars, depending on the version.

As well-built as Windows 7 is, it probably won't boost consumer PC purchases, which depend heavily on the economy, according to Rosoff.

A lot of corporations clinging to Windows XP are expected to upgrade to Windows 7, but after Microsoft's new Office 2010 suite of business applications is released next year.

"This kind of gets Microsoft back on track with its core business," Rosoff said. "It is not going to be something that takes the world by storm, but it is a solid operating system that people will be relying on for years."

The failure of Vista to catch on hurt Microsoft competitively, giving Apple the opportunity to woo PC users to Macintosh computers.

Apple could benefit anew if PC users faced with switching operating systems go for Macintosh machines instead of Windows 7, according to analysts.

Microsoft has been faulted in the past for lacking the type of marketing pizzazz for which longtime rival Apple is famous. Microsoft has devoted an ample budget to advertising Windows 7.

Microsoft has already been lambasted for hokey online videos describing how people can throw Windows 7 launch parties in their homes.

Microsoft and television studio Fox announced that Windows 7 will be the theme of an animated "Family Guy" television show featuring "musical numbers, comedy sketches, and celebrity guests."

"The fact that Microsoft is trying new things is actually pretty unique," Enderle said. "They are going to try to show that and innovative marketing is not an oxymoron."

(c) 2009 AFP

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User comments : 11

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3 / 5 (6) Oct 18, 2009
All the "new" features of Windows 7 reported in this article are in Windows Vista. Vista is not a train wreck, deal with it.
1.5 / 5 (2) Oct 18, 2009
I don't have Vista but it seemed fine with me. I heard Windows 7 was Vista with some minor changes "under the hood" so-to-speak. It'll be nothing really visually noticeable but it eliminates all the problems Vista customers have been talking about(Just what I heard).
3 / 5 (2) Oct 18, 2009
90%? Visitors to my company's website are running 69.8% MS. Every month the percentage is lower.
3 / 5 (2) Oct 18, 2009
90%? Visitors to my company's website are running 69.8% MS. Every month the percentage is lower.

My server shows MS only I hardly ever get Linux once a while Unix and almost no Apple. This is all I get usualy.
3 / 5 (2) Oct 18, 2009
Family guy is interested in Windows 7, I'm interested! That show is like my religion. Major turning point in my life... God bless the family man
not rated yet Oct 19, 2009
Looks like the entire IT media are now firmly behind Win7. After all, they don't want to kill the golden goose entirely. They would have nothing to write about and most of the tech writers make a living out of writing about Windows. I used the Win7 RC for 2 months and apart from improved startup and shutdown times, I could not tell it apart from Vista. Don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I think W7 is being over-hyped as was Vista. It has nothing to offer me that XP does not. I'll stick with XP. By not allowing me to upgrade from XP, my decision was made for me.
3 / 5 (2) Oct 19, 2009
Yeah vista wasn't THAT bad, but it just got itself into a bad reputation because of the radical changes to drivers that caused many old programs and hardware not to work until they released new ones for them. Now that it has all been fixed, windows 7 comes along with a nice new name and snugs itself in its content nook. Still, best OS since XP.
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 19, 2009
.. but why upgrade your OS? As if your average consumer is bothered XP or Vista or whatever! It is the apps that rule. Windows OS distribution is new hardware sales driven. Win7 touch screen interface is the next gotta have.
3 / 5 (2) Oct 19, 2009
I think W7 is being over-hyped as was Vista. It has nothing to offer me that XP does not. I'll stick with XP. By not allowing me to upgrade from XP, my decision was made for me.

Its quicker, cleaner, newer and safer. XP is getting daily updates to patch this or that security loophole, it pretty much is falling apart. Also win7 has a nice system for dealing with new hardware, be it 3d cards or usb devices.
5 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2009
"It takes 'one' to know one." M$ knows train wrecks, believe it!
5 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2009
have been using Vista for several months on my new computer and not really sure if I like it or not. It does strange stuff and I wanted to go back to XP but it would void my warranty so I can't. ugh.
may try to update one of these days to 7. Not sure yet.

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