Windows 7 for Christmas 2009?
USA Today and other major media outlets are starting to suggest that Windows 7 — the successor to Windows Vista — could arrive in time for Christmas 2009. Frankly, that sounds like a holiday nightmare to The VAR Guy. Here’s why.
Microsoft needs to get Windows 7 right. Rushing it out the door to cash in on 2009 holiday spending would most likely backfire.
Windows 7 Beta 1 is expected to arrive within the next few days or weeks, according to All About Microsoft, the popular blog penned by Mary Jo Foley. In the meantime, Microsoft is now allowing PC makers to stock Windows XP through mid-2009.
Also, consider this: Applications sell operating systems. And when was the last time you caught yourself thinking: “I need Windows Vista because there’s a hot, new, innovative Microsoft application that only runs on Vista.”
Fast forward to Windows 7’s launch, and Microsoft better have at least three killer, new, innovative applications that drive consumers, kids or businesses to the new operating system. Developing those “new” applications — whatever they may be — is going to take time.
Despite growing media hype for Windows 7, The VAR Guy suspects Microsoft will take its time with the forthcoming operating system. Things are bad in Windows land, but the software giant doesn’t need to press the panic button yet. As USA Today pointed out:
“…revenue from Microsoft’s client division, which includes Vista, rose 13% to $16.9 billion in its 2008 fiscal year, ended June 30. Operating income rose 14% to $13.1 billion. That’s partly because corporations paid Microsoft to access Vista but then chose not to use it.”
The World Has Changed
Besides, Microsoft’s biggest software problem involves the shifting software landscape rather than Vista.
The age of big, monolithic software environments that take years to develop is over. Because of Software as a Service (SaaS), mobile computing and appliance-based systems, customers increasingly expect tightly-written software that is upgraded far more regularly as part of an ongoing maintenance agreement or monthly service fee.
In some respects, Linux has the upper hand in the modern, open age of IT. Heck, even Dell has been advertising Ubuntu Linux-based Netbooks in its newspaper ads this holiday season.
But does that mean Microsoft is dead? Hardly.
Even failed software industry products — such as OS/2 — took years to kill off. Microsoft still generates big, big profits. With a little less arrogance and a little more R&D polish, Microsoft could easily get back on track with Windows 7. Apple recovered from multiple disastrous moves in the 1990s. Microsoft can certainly recover from one really bloated operating system.
But don’t count on Windows 7 for Christmas 2009.