Microsoft has declared it. And For anyone still burning a candle for Windows Vista, in the dark, its time is rapidly approaching. Buy now or forever hold your Rest in Peace, Windows 7 is coming to the rescue.
I’m not surprised that this has turned out. After all, it was all buggy. When it first arrived just in 2006, it was late, bloated. It may have looked pretty on the outside, but critics quickly pounced on it for driver incompatibility, sluggish performance on mainstream and even high-end hardware was left unfelt. And not to forget, enough bugs to fill a family-sized tent on a weekend camping expedition. Microsoft didn’t help matters with its ill-fated “Vista Capable” designation, a public relations debacle that convinced buyers who were too lazy to read the fine print that Vista would run just as well on hardware barely suited for XP.
It’s Hardest to change the first impression
Since first impressions are often the only things that matter in today’s attention-deficit world, Vista got stuck with a reputation it’s never quite been able to shake. Which is somewhat unfortunate given how nicely Vista has padded Microsoft’s bottom line since then. It’s sold hundreds of millions of copies and it runs on the vast majority of laptops on display at the average big box electronics retailer. Service Packs and updates have fixed most of the major bugs and security gaps and more devices than ever are Vista-friendly now that hardware manufacturers have gotten into the driver game. Vista hasn’t been the failure its detractors long said it was.
But memories are funny things, and despite its market performance over the past two-and-a-half years, no one seems willing to forgive Vista for being inadequately baked and improperly messaged when it first arrived. So Microsoft, recognizing that the era of the operating system is past middle age, is killing Vista. There’s been no press release, of course, no official announcement that it’s ending production — because it’s still churning out retail boxes and pre-loaded builds for OEMs just as it always has. But last week’s announcement of the Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program signals the likely death knell for Vista.
Free, cheap, and desperate
The Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program is a promotion under which customers who buy a PC equipped with Vista Premium, Business, or Ultimate between now and October will be eligible for a free upgrade when Windows 7 ships. It’s designed to prevent the usual drop in demand for a current OS that precedes the launch of the next generation — a critical move in the middle of a recession, when no one’s buying anyway. To further stoke interest among folks not interested in picking up new hardware anytime soon, Microsoft is pricing pre-orders for Windows 7 Home Premium at $49 and Professional at $99 — as close to fire sale pricing as we’ve ever seen on a Windows product.
“Microsoft has always managed the Windows sub-brands in a chaotic, ever-evolving manner, grazing over naming conventions as casually as most of us would cruise the buffet table at a distant cousin’s wedding.” a typical Frustrated user
Microsoft needs to move fast, because the age of selling a full-featured OS that fetches a triple-digit price is drawing to a close. We run applications, not operating systems, and Apple’s $29 upgrade for Snow Leopard signals just how commoditized the OS has become, and how little the average cash-strapped consumer or business owner is willing to pay for it. While you still need an OS to run the hardware that allows you to get online and run the applications you need, the slow evolution of increasingly network-centric computing points toward a future where what’s powering our hardware is less important than it is today.
Tomorrow’s operating system won’t be the headline-grabbing, Mick Jagger-attracting retail superstar that Windows once was. As long as it connects all the underlying pieces together (and stays out of our way while doing it) that will be enough. A leaner, meaner, cheaper Windows 7 bridges Microsoft toward this somewhat uncertain future. Likewise, big and brash Vista no longer has a place in the line-up, hence Microsoft’s all-hands effort to make us forget it ever existed.
Windows 7 Evolution
Call it anything you want, as long as you call it Windows. That’ll be good enough for Microsoft as it figures out how to make money in a post-Windows, post-Office landscape. With Vista out of the way, the company at least stands a fighting chance of convincing jaded consumers and enterprises alike that the OS is still relevant. Windows 7 is indeed a leaner and better product than Vista. The question on everyone’s mind is whether that’s enough to sustain the franchise. Will windows 7 be a big success? Our Earlier Benchmarks and solid proofs had shown +ve results. Will Windows 7 will it live upto the mark ?