Microsoft has finally released details of how it’s going to distribute and sell Windows 7. Like virtually every other announcement in the Windows 7 development cycle so far, the final decision appears to be aimed at handling a common objection – in this case, the perception that there are too many editions of Windows Vista. For Windows 7, most customers will have a choice of no more than three editions, with a clear upgrade path from one edition to the next.
The Ed Bott Report
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Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications.
Conventional wisdom says corporations have completely rejected Windows Vista. But I’m seeing evidence lately that Vista’s image is improving with age. A new report issued today by Benjamin Gray and his colleagues at Forrester Research confirms that Vista is getting a new lease on life in the enterprise. Ironically, Microsoft’s well-executed development of Windows 7 is a big part of the reason.
In the past few months, I’ve written extensively about Windows 7, often focusing on a specific set of features or technologies. Inevitably, someone in the Talkback section says I’m dodging the most important question: Is there a single killer feature in Windows 7 that justifies an upgrade, especially for someone who is happy with Windows XP and has chosen to avoid Windows Vista?Maybe not, but I can point to five places where a host of small changes add up to big potential for increased productivity.
Microsoft executive Bill Veghte raised some eyebrows this week when he told CNET's Ina Fried that he couldn't guarantee Windows 7 would be ready for the holiday season this year. Frightening? Not really. Just pro forma statements to go along with the beta. If you look at some recent documents, one official and another leaked, you can narrow down the Windows 7 release date to sometime in July 2009
In the past two-plus years, I’ve read countless complaints about the Windows Vista user interface. It has too many options for ordinary users. It doesn’t offer enough options for advanced users. It’s dumbed down and overcomplicated, sometimes all at the same time. Maybe Microsoft's software designers have learned something from all that criticism, because I see plenty of small but significant improvements in Windows 7. The most revealing is a dialog box that includes this refreshing option: "Let me choose."
On Wednesday night, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is going to step on stage at the Venetian Hotel’s Palazzo Ballroom to give the keynote address that kicks off the Consumer Electronics Show. It’s the first time for Ballmer, who’s taking the slot that his predecessor Bill Gates has had for years. It’s widely expected that Ballmer and an entourage of product managers will publicly unveil Windows 7 Beta 1. But I’m going to be listening for the things that Microsoft chooses not to talk about. In the spirit of the occasion, I offer these predictions of five things that Ballmer will take great pains to avoid saying.
My colleague Jason Perlow has been playing with Windows 7, and he hates it. The sad thing is, all the things that he hates are improvements, in my opinion, which just goes to show that you really can’t please everyone. Jason describes a reaction I heard from plenty of diehard XP users when Vista was released. If you insist on using techniques you learned back in the last millennium, you will be frustrated. But I believe that an open-minded XP user who actually takes a few minutes to learn how the new UI works will be more productive very quickly with Windows 7. I've taken Jason's three examples to prove my point.
Over the weekend, I had a chance to spend some quality time with the leaked Windows 7 build that’s zipping around the Internet. No one at Microsoft will confirm whether this code is the same as the beta due to be officially released in early January, but it bears every earmark of being the real thing. One of the first things I did before installing the software was to read the end user license agreement (EULA), carefully. Most of it was boilerplate, but I found a few surprises hidden within the legalese, including an expiration date that suggests a summertime release.
According to Microsoft, a release candidate of Internet Explorer 8 is just around the corner, and with it comes an urgent call to web designers to get their act together and tweak their sites so they’ll render properly under the new browser.Back in August, I began using IE8 Beta 2 full time on the Windows PCs I use for everyday work.
Bootleggers, beware. Judging by my inbox, lots of you downloaded a bootleg copy of Windows 7 build 6956 from BitTorrent, and now you have it running. But no matter how hard you try, you can’t update its built-in copy of Internet Explorer 8 with this week’s extremely critical out-of-band security update, which Microsoft turned around in record time. What's a poor bootlegger to do?