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Windows, Take 7

If you're a news junkie, you probably know all about the memo from Microsoft VP Bill Veghte. But news reports don't have the good, old Barney attitude and analysis. The memo was a lesson in both candor and obfuscation. Here's what I picked up:

Bill says Vista is basically awesome, and that we should all move to it as quickly as possible. He also says that some customers may experience compatibility problems. "Some" and "may"? This is the very definition of understatement. The memo skips over Blue Screens and doggish performance.

He does concede that there may be apps you need that won't run on Vista, and here customers can downgrade to XP. Here's the rub: If you buy a new computer and want to use XP, you have to buy the more expensive versions of Vista -- either Vista Business or Vista Ultimate. Lower-income families and companies are stuck with Blue Screens and doggish performance. On the corporate side, if you have a volume agreement, you have the privilege of sticking with XP.

Then Bill gives some advice on moving to Vista (taking upgrade advice from Microsoft is like getting liposuction advice from a plastic surgeon: the answer is always yes). He argues that with service pack 1 and more drivers and app upgrades, the time is right to move to Vista.

Bill then gives a glimpse of Windows 7. Actually, he says two things about it that are actually interesting. First, he says Microsoft plans to ship Windows 7 in about a year-and-a-half. Given that it's not in wide testing, I'm more skeptical than a Zimbabwean voter.

Second -- and this is the first such official proclamation -- Veghte stated that Windows 7 is based on Vista. For those avoiding Vista and waiting for Windows 7, this means you're simply avoiding Vista to wait for the next version of Vista. It's also the case that Microsoft is betting its OS future on a good, old-fashioned fat client.

Is that your future? Let us all know by writing to me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on July 10, 2008 at 11:52 AM


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