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Windows 7 Falls to Pieces

The late Patsy Cline would probably have loved Windows 7. Or, at least, she might have related to it. In her tragically brief career (and life), Patsy was famous for falling to pieces, and, in a sense, that's what Windows 7 will do.

OK, so maybe falling to pieces isn't the perfect metaphor, but Windows 7 will have a modular nature that will allow users to turn off all sorts of features and applications...including Internet Explorer. Now, that last bit is interesting, as everybody is noting this week, because Microsoft has famously said for years that IE was the one "piece" that Microsoft couldn't let "fall off" of Windows.

You might remember a certain antitrust lawsuit here in the U.S. and some (ongoing) trouble with the European Union...and if you think back hard enough, you might even remember Netscape, the browser (and company) that was probably the most victimized by Microsoft's bundling of IE into Windows. Well, Microsoft -- a convicted monopolist, after all -- has managed to disassociate IE from Windows, or at least let users mostly remove it if they so choose.

That's the news here, but it's not the part of the story that we like best. What we like is the fact that users will be able to easily trim down Windows 7 as they please. We say "easily" because it has long been possible to make Windows leaner, but it hasn't always been obvious just how to do that. (Actually, it was pretty obvious in Vista -- for the brave few who bothered to migrate to it.) We also like the fact that Windows 7 will be, apparently, a lot less of a resource hog than Vista. Now, if Microsoft and third parties can just get the driver situation sorted...

Windows 7, already garnering mostly good reviews, is looking thinner, more adaptable and generally more user-friendly than Vista. That has to be good news for everybody, from partners, who will want customers to upgrade to the new OS, to users, who will either want a reason to move off of XP or an escape from the nightmare that is Vista, to Microsoft, which badly needs to regain some goodwill on the OS front.

It's a lot to ask of Windows 7 to placate antitrust regulators, assuage users' fury over Vista and generally get the Windows franchise back on track, but it appears that Microsoft is trying to do all of those things with this operating system. We suspect that Patsy Cline would have been "Crazy" for this OS if she'd been able to see it (or a personal computer at all). We'll see whether users and partners react the same way.

We're always open to what you have to say about Windows 7. Sound off at [email protected].

Posted by Lee Pender on March 10, 2009