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.