And Windows 7's killer feature is ...

And Windows 7's killer feature is ...

Summary: I keep hearing about how Windows 7 is going to be just the CPR that the ailing PC industry needs to get itself out of the hole it's in. It seems that folks, both consumer and enterprise, are going to be flocking to their favorite OEMs and throwing cash at them in exchange for brand-spanking-new PCs running Windows 7.

SHARE:

I keep hearing about how Windows 7 is going to be just the CPR that the ailing PC industry needs to get itself out of the hole it's in. It seems that folks, both consumer and enterprise, are going to be flocking to their favorite OEMs and throwing cash at them in exchange for brand-spanking-new PCs running Windows 7.

OK, I like Windows 7. It's a nice, robust OS with a jazzed up interface and a few new features. But here's my question - what's the Windows 7 killer feature that's going to be pulling people to the PC stores in their droves to buy these new systems? Sure, there's always those folks that must live on the bleeding edge when it comes to technology (I'm one of those people), but when it comes to the masses (both consumer and business), I'm having a hard time seeing what would make people go out and spend money on new systems before their current system becomes obsolete.

I'm guessing that analysts are counting on all those people who were put off by Vista and stuck with XP to rush out and spend on new systems. After all, some 60% of systems out there are still running the aging OS. While I can see this happening to some extent, I don't see this having a big effect when you look at the big picture. The chilling effect that the PC industry is experiencing isn't down to Vista, it's the recession, and unless Windows 7 puts extra money into people's pockets, I don't see PC sales increasing dramatically until the overall health of the economy improves.

This is doubly so for business. Unless Microsoft can make a clear case as to how 7 will make businesses faster, lighter on their feet and more productive, I see companies doing what they're already doing, and making their existing hardware last longer. There's no doubt that businesses will eventually need to move on, sooner rather than later when it comes to those companies still using XP (the majority from what I can tell). But even with that said, I can't see businesses doing anything as silly as rushing to adopt a new OS. I still say that SP1, as has been the case with previous incarnations of Windows, will be the event that IT managers will be keeping an eye out for.

The thing that's missing in Windows 7 is a killer feature. Windows XP will still be the benchmark for both new hardware and software for some time to come. Sure, Windows 7 brings new stuff to the table, but there's nothing there that you really need. Put a PC running XP and an identical system running 7 side by side, and both PCs will be able to carry out the same tasks, and I doubt that in real world conditions that there would be any difference in time taken to carry out those tasks, or the reliability of each of the systems.

Forget the hyperbole. Forget the nonsense comparisons to Linux and Mac OS. Forget eye-candy. What people really want to know is how Windows 7 will put more money in their pockets or free up more time.

Topics: Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

98 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: And Windows 7's killer feature is ...

    My bet for businesses would be XP mode. They would be able to upgrade to a new OS while maintaining the backward compatibility.

    Both types of users will be able to benefit from W7's enhanced reliability features. I know I have used the repair wizards more than a few times, and they take no technical know-how, which will benefit the "joe- Sixpack" user.


    That said however, I'd would like to ask this question: Is there such thing as a killer feature?


    Operating systems today, have reached a plateau of sorts. Weather it be Windows, Mac or *nix (*shutter*), There really is no incentive to upgrade. They all offer the same thing.... A platform to run your programs on.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • I Agree...

      At this point, OS upgrades, in my mind, should introduce new ways of getting work done more efficiently and effectively... more UI based improvements than anything else.

      New features and improvements throughout should always be a goal, absolutely, but the killer feature can be more evolutionary than revolutionary and still create a better experience.
      GoodThings2Life
      • @GoodThings2Life

        "OS upgrades, in my mind, should introduce new ways of getting work done ..."

        Again, I agree, and this has been how Windows has been sold for years. But that whole "introduce new ways of getting work done" can bring with it a lot of costs that need to be justified.

        See, I think that this is the only valid Windows/Mac comparison, and that is that both OSes right now are at a stage of being evolutionary not revolutionary, but the problem for Microsoft is convincing people to switch. For Apple it's just a new OS on new hardware they sell ...
        Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
        • Very True

          Vista was a bigger leap from XP than 7 is from Vista, keeping in mind 7 is really NT 6.1 (to Vista's NT 6.0) and before that we lived with 2000/XP (NT 5) for an unprecedented number of years prior to Vista.

          Mac has been on OS X for pretty much the whole decade, at least Windows has moved a major revision (NT 5 to 6) in this time. But then again the difference in the degree of stagnation on either end may be in each company's emphasis (software company that can make hardware vs hardware company that can make software)

          That said Windows has always been like this going from 3.1 to 95 was a revolution, 95 to 98 to ME more an evolution; ME to XP a revolution, XP to its various drawn out new service packs an evolution. XP to Vista a minor revolution, Vista to 7 an evolution.
          JasonJD48
    • "repair wizards"?

      So you mean to say that "7" crashes as well?

      Yes boys n girls - We Put People On The Moon over 30 years ago... and now we have ... VISTA! (and a rewarmed flavour of it called 7)! (but it still needs repair wizards - cough cough).
      nizuse
      • FUD

        Name me an OS that doesn't crash, and I'll reward you with a million dollars.


        The only tow wizards I had to use were hardware related, and networking related, and they were both resolved without one single restart, or blue screen. :)
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
        • So you had application crashes?

          Shees! Must be Windows!

          Still stuck with crashes! And.. this is supposed to be an 'evolutionary advance' over that dog Vista? LOL!
          nizuse
          • Because Windows is the only platform for which crashes exist.

            Are you really making such a ridiculous claim?
            ye
          • I believe they are changing it's color

            No more BSODs for you, now you'll have

            <b>S</b>omeOtherColor <b>S</b>creen <b>O</b>f <b>D</b>eath

            But it's the same thing basically, only Aero enhanced.
            InAction Man
          • You are aware my title was said with sarcasm? (nt)

            .
            ye
          • Ah, Well - I WAS Going to Say that Win7 is Wasta Done FINALLY Right

            But then M$FT Bigots like Ye had to open their bilious traps and let fly with their usual uninformed, from the bloated lips of Bullyboy Ballmer, pronunciamentos....

            As it happens, Windows 7 is the first MSFT OS I've actually LIKED using since 98SE. It's lightweight enough to run on five-year-old equipment yet plenty powerful, it's a LOT more intuitive than Vista ever was (or even XP was initially), and it manages to be secure without being a [i]skootch[/i] about it. I'm running the RC on my wife's old Sony laptop for casual use (e-mail, Web surfing, listening to audio streams), and am impressed enough that I think I'd like to upgrade our whole household with it once it's finally out. Even my wife, who hates change, likes it....





            drprodny
          • Did I say that?

            Will you quit putting words in my mouth?


            I had a bit of trouble with my NIC card... A problem that was quickly addressed by a driver update, and a few missing drivers after a fresh install, something that was also fixed. All via Windows 7's repair wizards.


            Wow. Try doing that with XP.


            Now quit putting words in my mouth!
            The one and only, Cylon Centurion
          • Leave a windoze machine ON long enough without rebooting, you'll see them

            Lots of the really.

            http://blogs.computerworld.com/never_reboot_again_with_linux_and_ksplice
            InAction Man
          • Morew FUD

            My system running Vista has an uptime of 10 days... 0 crashes. The only reason Vista was off, cus I booted into my Windows 7 partition.
            The one and only, Cylon Centurion
          • "Only reason Vista was off (etc.)"

            Sure. Yep. We Do Believe That.
            nizuse
          • 10 days??? I'm talking 10 months... and more!

            Are we setting our expectations that low?
            InAction Man
          • I'm not running Windoze, but in Windows XP...

            I have a home file server that is always on and gets frequent use whether streaming media from itself to another netowrked computer, serving files or backing up files to another computer. It is on 24/7 and its only off during a power outage beyond my UPS battery length or when I reboot it, no crashes, and its on pretty old hardware. 2 years so far, no issues. I can't speak for Windows Vista or 7 in this arena but XP serves me well without need to reboot. I wonder how you would know though since you run Lumux.
            JasonJD48
          • Read the article, it will clear your doubts.

            InAction Man
          • I read the article...

            And was unimpressed, not having to reboot for updates would not be a huge deal to me personally. I am happy I have a stable OS that doesn't crash or require frequent reboots and thats all I want, you can keep Linux and Ksplice
            JasonJD48
          • Horse pucky

            My office desktop runs Vista Ultimate 24x7, and reboots only once a month if required for patching. Same at home, where it's Vista Ultimate upgraded to Win7 RC. I've never had a single crash on either machine, one 16 months old and the other built when Vista shipped.
            1DaveN