Does Microsoft Understand Simplicity?
Microsoft appears to be doing a lot of things right with Windows 7 — the forthcoming successor to Windows Vista. But The VAR Guy is still scratching his head of Microsoft’s decision to offer six versions of Windows 7.
As Mary Jo Foley points out, Microsoft will wisely put most of its Windows 7 marketing dollars behind two versions of the operating system: Home Premium and Professional. But then Microsoft confuses the situation, Foley notes, with all of these Windows 7 variants:
- Windows 7 Starter Edition (for emerging market and netbook users)
- Windows 7 Home Basic (for emerging market customers only)
- Windows 7 Home Premium (the main “Media Center” equivalent)
- Windows 7 Professional (the business SKU for home users and non-enterprise licensees)
- Windows 7 Enterprise (for volume licensees)
- Windows 7 Ultimate (for consumers who want/need business features)
Microsoft is only going to get one chance to get Windows 7 right. Roughly 10 percent of the desktop market has already voted against Microsoft and moved to Mac OS X or Linux. The VAR Guy thinks more folks would defect from Windows — if only they had the cash to buy a Mac or the expertise to load Linux.
Progress In Redmond
To Microsoft’s credit, early reviews of Windows 7 have been generally positive. And the company may even fill a glaring hole in its product line by getting Windows 7 to run on Netbooks.
Oh, and let’s not forget that The VAR Guy was wrong — dead wrong — about Microsoft’s potential ship date for Windows 7. By all indications, the software giant is on track for a 2009 delivery; our resident blogger had predicted the upgrade’s launch would slip into 2010.
Still, questions remain: Will Windows 7 deliver the right mix of performance, security and compatibility? And will Microsoft keep things simple for customers by aggressively promoting the Home Premium and Professional editions?
Hmmm. To paraphrase an old friend: “Difficult to see the future is.”