Microsoft tries to stuff the Windows 7 genie back in the bottle

Summary:The Windows 7 genie is out of the bottle. Trying to stuff it back in will do nothing but create more customer confusion.

A few days after a Windows Core Operating System Division executive said to expect the next version of Windows to ship intwo years, Microsoft is attempting to distance itself from his pronouncement. posted to its press Web site on February 13 an official "Microsoft Statement in Response to Speculation on Next Version of Windows."

“The launch of Windows Vista was an incredibly exciting moment for our customers and partners around the world, and the company is focused on the value Windows Vista will bring to people today. We are not giving official guidance to the public yet about the next version of Windows, other than that we’re working on it. When we are ready, we will provide updates,” read the statement, attributed to Kevin Kutz, Director, Windows Client.

Does that mean Corporate Vice President Ben Fathi, the Microsoft exec who floated the 2009 date for the next release of Windows that shall not be named (but is Windows 7) was wrong? Microsoft isn't going that far. What is the company trying to say? "We don't want to be held accountable to a ship-date target."

While not talking about the next version of Windows until officials are good and ready is a nice theory, it's a bad practice. Sure, Microsoft would be foolish to disclose at this point a full feature list for an operating system that is only in the very earliest phases of development.

But customers want and need to know roughly what's coming when in order to plan their corporate and consumer PC purchases. There's a big difference between 2009 (the supposed current target for Windows 7) and 2011 (the possible target given Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates' two-to-four year time window for the next version of Windows).

The Windows 7 genie is out of the bottle. Trying to stuff it back in will do nothing but create more customer confusion.

Windows-Now blogger Robert McLaws has his own take on the Microsoft statement on the next version of Windows.

Topics: Windows


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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