Testers seemed to like Windows Vista before it bombed. Windows 7 has also garnered positive reviews. The natural question: How much faith should we put in early tests of Windows?
Mary Jo Foley raises the question and notes that even Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is wary of preaching early reviews as gospel. Sure, Walt Mossberg and a bevy of others like Windows 7. Mossberg says Windows 7 is as good as Apple's Snow Leopard in places.
However, most of the Windows 7 reviewers are power users. The real proof will come when your mom takes a Windows 7 PC for a spin and finds it easy to use. The real proof will come when teenagers determine that Windows 7 is as cool as Apple's OS. The real proof will come from word of mouth recommendations for Windows 7 because it's easy and looks good.
Bottom line: Despite all the screencasts, benchmarks, how-tos and other tutorials we just don't know how Windows 7 will do until it hits the marketplace. You can substitute consumers for chief information officers and the Windows 7 impact boils down to "we'll see what happens."
Sure, Dell is talking of a Windows 7 upgrade cycle for consumers and the enterprise. But what else is it going to say? Some economists are betting on a Windows 7 bump for the overall economy. It's not hard to find other optimistic views. In the end, we have no clue what the Windows 7 impact will be.
Perhaps that's why Ballmer's recent barnstorming tour is partially focused on lowering expectations for Windows 7. He's not quite sure how it'll turn out either. Windows 7 rests in the hands of your mom and millions of consumers everywhere.