Thursday, July 23, 2009

Microsoft and 7

Let's be honest, you can't go to any of the news outlets without hearing something about Windows 7 that is going to be released on Oct 22. What is amazing to me is how much press (aka opinions) this release is getting. Both positive and negative articles are popping up all over the place. You can get a good idea over at I can understand that MS wants this to succeed considering the Vista failure but there are those that want this thing to utterly fail. There always seem to be extremists on both sides of any fence.

What do I think? I don't know and I don't think I would be someone qualified to make a prediction. I'm too conflicted. One side of me thinks that it'll flop because Microsoft keeps stressing that 7 has Vista underneath. Just using the term "Vista" is a general turn off for me. However, if we review history at the other ill mentioned OS, say Millennium Edition, we see that it was preceded by XP, which Microsoft is still (kinda) supporting 8+ years later. So I am not sure how far 7 will fly.

If 7 ends up going belly up, the future for Microsoft won't look good. However, I have a couple thoughts on how Microsoft could continue on:

Stop making operating systems and focus on office software.
Let's face it, if 7 flops then that will be two failures in a row. At that point, it might be time to cut bait and just focus on what has been working for them. Their office line has been better received lately than their operating systems. If they turn their focus on that and enable it for (heaven forbid) Open Source operating systems, they probably could do ok.

Follow Apple's example.
What do I mean by this? Well, since may people think that Microsoft copies Apple's exterior design (a la Vista and OS X), they might as well go all out and take a similar path with its interior. Base future versions of Windows on Unix. Why not? OS X is primarily a BSD userland with a proprietary kernel to drive it. Why can't Microsoft do this? What would they have to lose? If they based their new system off of NetBSD, not only would they have a better underlying system but the flexability that could carry over to future smartphone operating systems.

I know what you are thinking. If they did that, wouldn't existing applications stop working? Yes, but didn't Microsoft prove that they don't really care about that kind of thing when they released Vista? And to top it off, rather than fix existing compatibility with 7, they are using virtualization for XP compatibility. Worse case, have Microsoft buy Cedega software for their old API emulation. They could fix it and ship it since they know how that work. (In theory, anyway)

These are just thoughts I have. Do I think Microsoft would do any of the above? Most likely no unless hell froze over. Do I think Windows 7 will fail? I think it has a 50/50 shot. The jury won't come back until next year...

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