Barney's Blog

Blog archive

Mailbag: Six Is a Crowd for Windows 7, More

After Microsoft announced this week that it had six versions of Windows 7 planned, Doug asked readers if they felt that was too many. Most of you responded with a resounding "yes":

Six versions of Windows...again? Say it ain't so! Alas, Microsoft seems doomed to repeat past follies. Did it really sell enough of the mid-level versions of previous Windows incarnations to be worth the effort? Isn't the development and support of millions lines of code difficult enough in a target environment that already has an unfathomably large number of permutations of hardware and applications software? Why increase the magnitude of the task?

One version of Windows 7 is ideal. Two versions are plausible. Three versions is a step down the path to confusion. Six versions is folly.
-Richard

I was really hoping that it was just going to stay at two versions. I started to get excited then kept reading your article to find that there would be six. I about cried. I'm so tired of trying to decipher which three to eight features are in some versions and not in other versions. Bleh!
-Casey

Six versions of Windows 7? Sounds like Microsoft is making the same mistake twice. Having so many versions confuses most end users. Microsoft should have two versions at most of Windows, a Home and Business/Professional version. It could go the Apple route and just have one version with one price, but that may be a bit too simple for Microsoft to comprehend.
-Robert

Six is four too many. Please tell Microsoft to get back to the Windows XP model and have TWO -- one for home and one for enterprise. Honestly, it makes us all look a bit silly when Mac has one version for everyone (yes, I understand Apple really doesn't have one for enterprise) but we have to help people decide which of the six to choose from.
-Roger

I'm just asking Microsoft to use common sense: three versions of Windows 7 (i.e., Home, Business and Enterprise).
-Stephen

Microsoft has confused everyone with numerous versions of Vista, yet continues the madness with Windows 7. Microsoft claims that the market needs all these versions, but I maintain that a simplified lineup would be more cost-effective. At the most, three versions are needed: Basic, Home Premium, Professional. Purchasing and support would be greatly streamlined.
-Scott

It is a support nightmare for Microsoft and the IT community -- and a a public relations mistake -- to have more than one version.
-Steven

What was wrong with a Home version, a Professional version and -- for media freaks -- a Media version? Trying to give tech support and keep three XP versions, six Vista versions and now six Windows 7 versions clear when talking to a client that can't always successfully identify if he has Windows 98, Vista or XP...save me.
-D.B.

Let's start with one version that works like it was supposed to. Give me the basic Business one. I'd prefer not to deal with the Home version(s) at all. Our customers don't know the difference.
-Dan

One thing I have always disliked is the plethora of versions offered by MS. I can understand Starter, but otherwise a simple Home edition and Enterprise edition would have been fine.

Beleive it or not, there are many companies out there that use varied styles of licensing and MS is driving apart the ability to manage Windows easily by making IT administrators support multiple flavors of Vista and now 7. The features in Enterprise would be welcome in Business (or Pro for 7) and I think MS should really reconsider splitting the market.
-Jordan

Microsoft should learn from past experiences. With Windows XP, it finally got it right. At the most, there should be three versions. One for consumers, one for businesses and then an ultimate version with all the options for gamers/PC enthusiasts/Windows geeks.
-David

Six versions is way too many. Home, Small Business, Enterprise. Beyond that, even Windows 7 will find it hard to distinguish between the versions. Make it simple for businesses to choose (and use) Windows 7. Or is it the money for license upgrading that Microsoft is after?
-Dee

For goodness sake! Customers would be willing to pay for one excellent version of the Windows 7 OS based on their level of proficiency. You may be wise to consider one version of Basic, Home Premium and Professional.
-Joe

I think three versions are more than enough. When we had Window 98 and NT, two seemed to take care of the masses. Now we have gamers, so let's go with three: Home, Business and Gamers. Maybe it should be non-Internet, Internet and Ultra High-Performance with the emphasis on security. This nickel and dime stuff is silly. If people are going to complain about price, they will stay with their old computers or go to an alternative OS.

I suspect Microsoft wrote one OS and turned off features for less expensive versions so even though you bought the less expensive OS, it still takes up the same amount of space on your hard drive. If there is really only one OS, then you've got to wonder how Microsoft arrives at these price points. Small pieces of paper drawn out of a hat?
-Jim

Oh, for the days when we had one OS! (Remember when there was one Amiga OS for everyone?) The general public -- and few Microsoft partners, I might add -- does not understand the need for all these versions of Windows, and all this version mess seems to complicate the licensing to the point where you have to engage a "licensing specialist" just to quote the product to your clients! It's time for Microsoft to streamline the product line.
-John

How about only one version and using a license key to unlock the features? This would make upgrading to a higher version a snap. It would also keep service packs simple.
-Shane

If Microsoft puts the Enterprise edition at a reasonable price, then I don't care how many different versions it has ahead of it, because I won't be buying those versions anyway. The difficult part is in defining "reasonable" based on the quality of the product. But I do think that too many versions just muddy the water.
-Mike

One reader points out that Internet Explorer 8 isn't the only browser out there that has clickjacking protection:

I read your story about IE 8 and the feature to prevent clickjacking and I must make a correction. Yes, Firefox natively does not prevent clickjacking but it does have an add-on that does. It is called NoScript. I've been using it now for months and feel a lot safer on the Web.
-Louis

The Joes share their thoughts on Microsoft's planned layoffs in the middle of an economic maelstrom:

I just read the Mailbag item from Gerry that laments Microsoft's decision to lay off 5,000 people in tough economic times and not show compassion. Do I feel compassion for the people and their families? Absolutely, and I bet the managers at MS feel really bad about it as well.

However, our country is founded on free enterprise. The fact that a person from a disadvantaged economic background can work hard, excel and achieve great things is the cornerstone of this. However, that opportunity does not mean that a company should give someone a job because the person needs it, hard times or not. Microsoft would be doing a disservice to its stockholders if it kept people on the payroll that it can effectively do without. Why? Because it would no longer be striving to be the leanest, most profitable business that it can be.

-Joe

It would be interesting to see the number of H-1B visa workers MS plans to cut in their firings. It is a joke that companies such as MS can import all of this talent from foreign lands under the premise that they can't find the talent here, when in actuality it is that they can't find the talent here at a low enough price. And after the these tech companies flood the U.S. job market with folks willing to work for much lower wages, they then wonder why fewer people are entering the field. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Companies using the current economy to cut head counts while registering nice profits should be ashamed. Can't decide who is worse: MS cutting 5,000 employees with a $4.1 billion profit, IBM cutting folks while registering an 11 percent increase in profits, or NFL teams cutting employees while making obscene money.
-Joe

And Gil doesn't share the Indian government's optimism about a $10 laptop:

Yeah, and I want a pony. Geez, come on. What are they thinking?
-Gil

More letters on Windows 7 coming next week! Meanwhile, tell us what you think. Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on February 06, 2009 at 11:53 AM


Most   Popular