Windows 7: Don’t Call It An IT Saviour
As Microsoft pumps up Windows 7 for a potential Fall 2009 release, the operating system has received generally favorable buzz. But now, some folks are starting to wonder if Windows 7 will somehow save IT sales. The VAR Guy thinks not. Here’s why.
The folks at Blogcritics magazine suggest Windows 7 could potentially bail out the the tech industry. But that’s a 1990s mindset.
A decade ago, Wintel (Windows on Intel) drove the IT market. Businesses and some consumers planned their “refresh” cycles around hardware and software upgrades from Intel and Microsoft. Wintel today remains a dominant force in terms of market share and mind share. But Wintel no longer sits at the center of the IT universe. Instead, kids and businesses alike get their software and content from the Web.
As long as their PCs have a Web browser, broadband access and enough memory to multitask between multiple online applications, most users no longer care about “upgrading” to the latest operating system.
Skeptical? Consider this question: Name a “killer application” for Windows 7. (Bueller? … Bueller? …) Without a killer application there’s no reason to run out and buy a new operating system.
To Microsoft’s credit, Windows 7 seems to offer a faster, more streamlined design vs. Windows Vista. Even the folks at The Wall Street Journal have given Windows 7 a mostly favorable review.
Momentum Starts — In 2010
But that doesn’t mean consumers and businesses will run out and buy Windows 7 the day it ships. The old software upgrade market — where users install new operating systems on old computers — seems to be fading away. Instead, PCs, netbooks and notebooks have become low-cost hardware commodities.
Translation: The vast majority of Windows 7 adopters will first discover the operating system when they purchase it pre-installed on a new PC. And those Windows 7 PC sales aren’t going to “save” the IT market.
Businesses are going to take a long, hard look at Windows 7 before making the move. And some consumers are actually going to consider alternatives — Mac OS X and yes, even Linux netbooks — before they make a buying decision.
The irony: Windows 7’s release may actually slow down corporate PC sales temporarily in late 2009 as businesses weigh their upgrade paths. But assuming Microsoft gets Windows 7 right, The VAR guy expects to see strong demand for the operating system throughout 2010 and beyond.