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Office 2010 and Windows 7: Microsoft Is Here To Help

In 1995, when Major League Baseball returned from a labor dispute that killed the end of the 1994 season, baseball players were suddenly everybody's best friend. Ballplayers signed autographs, posed for pictures and high-fived kids as they never had before. They had a reputation to restore. And eventually, they did restore it...before the steroid scandal hit, of course.

But forget about the steroids for now. Microsoft is emerging from a bit of a "baseball strike" of its own with Windows 7 replacing Vista. One of Vista's big problems was that not many applications worked with it; another was that migration to it, especially from machines that lacked the requisite memory, was difficult. Those and other factors frustrated users (to say the least), so not many people migrated to Vista. That was especially true in the enterprise.

With Windows 7, though, Microsoft is showing up early to games to chat with fans, offering enhanced help and support features that include social networking options and built-in, automated fixes. It's also busy trying to sniff out upgrade problems that some users are reporting, although some readers (check out the comments on the two linked articles) are still struggling to get the new OS up and running. (Incidentally, there's also an "application-compatibility" program for the forthcoming Office 2010.)

Of course, any new product -- particularly a new OS -- is likely to be fraught with some danger in the installation process and will always bring out more complaints than compliments from users. But Microsoft seems to taking a different tack with Windows 7 than it did with Vista.

This is just a feeling, not necessarily based on anything but observation, but Microsoft seemed adamant when Vista launched that the OS was perfect and that anybody who couldn't get it to work was obviously doing something wrong or just wasn't smart enough to install an OS. That perceived attitude alienated many users, who ended up shunning Vista and convincing their friends and colleagues to do the same.

We don't get that same feeling from Redmond with Windows 7. Microsoft seems to be a kinder, friendlier software monolith with the launch of its new OS. Even its ads for Windows 7 come across that way. And while it's never been in Redmond's DNA to admit to too many mistakes (especially as far as a new product is concerned), we're getting less of the perfection vibe from Microsoft regarding Windows 7 than we did with Vista. This time, it seems as though Microsoft is here to help, not to berate or belittle users.

Baseball, for all its problems, has turned itself around. This dreadful World Series is racking up huge ratings, from what we're reading in headlines on Google News. So, as you watch the Series (which your editor is not doing, actually), remember that Microsoft is trying to win back your favor, too...and probably without the use of steroids.

Do you sense a new attitude from Microsoft regarding Windows 7? Or is Redmond still just the same old Redmond? Have your say at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on November 03, 2009 at 11:55 AM