Could Windows 7 become the new Windows XP?

Could Windows 7 become the new Windows XP?

Summary: Could Microsoft have trouble getting desktop and notebook users to move to Windows 8?

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Is Microsoft in danger of turning Windows 7 into the new Windows XP?

What do I mean by that? Well, take a look at the usage share statistics for Windows XP. Despite being two versions out of date it still commands an almost 50% usage share. People are holding onto XP for dear life rather than opening their wallets and upgrading to the latest and greatest.

Could this be a problem facing Microsoft when it tries to get people to upgrade to Windows 8? It could well be ...

Here's an interesting quote by PC Pro's Barry Collins:

For desktop PC or laptop users, however, we're struggling to see the appeal. The entire interface is so geared towards touch, that using a mouse or cursor keys to navigate around the Start screen just feels awkward. We suspect Windows 7 will remain the operating system of choice for conventional PC users.

It's a good point.

While Jensen Harris, director of program management for the Windows Experience, says that "every screen needs to be touch. A monitor without touch feels dead," the truth is that it's hard to see touch becoming mainstream on the desktop for a number of reasons - one of the most obvious being that most people's desktop environments aren't set up in a way that makes them conducive to touch. Who wants to have their arms up in the air to point at stuff when they have a perfectly good pointing device on the desk? Why wants a fingerprint covered screen? What makes touch better on the desktop or a notebook? So far Microsoft is giving us hyperbole rather than concrete answers as to why this technology is needed outside of tablets.

Here's another problem. Touch adds significant cost to a system at a time when people are watching the pennies. I can see OEMs offering touch panels as optional extras, but unless there's a compelling case made for touch, tablets will be where most people get to experience this new input device.

And finally, it doesn't seem like you're going to be able to do everything using touch anyway, since the Metro UI is only a veneer over Windows. Imagine trying to control this with touch:

I like touch on a tablet, but the problem is that Microsoft has yet to make a compelling case for touch on a desktop or notebook PC which have more refined pointing devices as standard. I can understand if Microsoft took the Apple approach and pushed a device like the Magic Trackpad, but to push touch as touchscreen doesn't make much sense to me on the desktop, and little sense on notebooks.

Touch is quite definitely a tablet feature, yet Microsoft is trying to shoehorn it onto the desktops and notebooks (maybe as a way to invigorate sales, because more PC sales means more money in Microsoft's coffers), but the problem is that most of its customers will not be using touch, and will likely not want it or need it. And if they don't want touch, why upgrade to Windows 8.

What to YOU think?

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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111 comments
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  • RE: Could Windows 7 become the new Windows XP?

    start the march Adrian.
    Return_of_the_jedi
    • RE: Could Windows 7 become the new Windows XP?

      After a few minutes use thought that a lot of folk are going to stay with Win 7.No start menu,to power off have to to get to settings,no way to lock on either tablet or desktop,all this adds up to general fustration.
      But if you have a tablet it is probaly a good OS,if only the more speedy desktop over Win 7 could be properly be of use?
      morrig
      • RE: Could Windows 7 become the new Windows XP?

        @morrig Yeah, Metro should have been tablet-only or at least not the default UI on the desktop. While the old-style Windows desktop is hidden underneath, there doesn't seem to be an option to make it the default. I certainly hope that changes prior to RTM. If not, I could easily see Windows 7 becoming the new XP.
        BillDem
      • @BillDem .. Agree completely

        with your assessment. +1<br><br>Metro should not be forced as the default - it needs to be the other way around.<br><br>If MS is to stay relevant to enterprise, it has to focus on not isolating them with this. If the W8 Team, however, make the traditional Aero-type desktop the default, they're onto a win-win scenario:<br><br>(1) the enterprise gets the platform familiarity (first and foremost)<br><br>and<br><br>(2) the domestic user gets an easily tweakable desktop environment to switch between work-mode and play/social-mode.<br><br>To echo your thoughts (again) - since it deserves reiteration: <i>Metro as the default theme is a bad move.</i> If it does, i have no doubt W7 is the next XP.
        thx-1138_
      • @BillDem I agree. +2

        Microsoft must fix the interface and workings for desktop computers. Making desktop and laptop users feel obsolete for second class is not going to be a motivator for sale of windows 8. In-fact it may suggest to people that the product wasn't well thought out or rushed--another Vista.
        Auna
      • There's a problem...

        @thx-1138_@... <br><br>The new XAML apps are Metro only, that is, all the WinRT fanciness just doesn't work on the traditional desktop.<br><br>Microsoft can't essentially make Metro optional, as all the revenue model (App Store, one OS for all uses, no compromises, etc.) goes to pieces if you actually have TWO OS to maintain. <br><br>Ironically, that the path that Apple led and has given them quite a clout, but they chose it voluntarily. Microsoft is stating that they want a single OS for all.<br><br>Or it can get much worse. If Metro is made optional, MS will get stuck with FIVE OSs to maintain:<br><br>1. Metro only Windows 8 (on ARM)<br>2. Metro and Legacy Windows 8 (on x86)<br>3. Metro and Legacy Windows 8 (on x64)<br>4. Legacy-only Windows 8 (on x86) [basically Windows 7 x86]<br>5. Legacy-only Windows 8 (on x64)<br><br>Sounds like a mouthful.
        cosuna
    • RE: Could Windows 7 become the new Windows XP?

      @Return_of_the_jedi
      So far Microsoft is giving us hyperbole rather than concrete answers as to why this technology is needed outside of tablets.
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      zahidpi
    • RE: Could Windows 7 become the new Windows XP?

      @Return_of_the_jedi
      Making desktop and laptop users feel obsolete for second class is not going to be a motivator for sale of windows 8. In-fact it may suggest to people that the product wasn't well thought out or rushed--another Vista.
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      zahidpi
    • RE: Could Windows 7 become the new Windows XP?

      @Return_of_the_jedi
      zahidpi
  • RE: Could Windows 7 become the new Windows XP?

    The non-Metro, classical UI is there to stay in Windows 8 too--that is, except for applications written for Metro. You'll still run Office 2010 in Windows 8, there ain't going to be any Office Metro Edition.

    However, some applications could benefit from the Metro UI even for non-touchy notebooks. Not to mention that I expect to have an increasing number of notebooks whose screen is touch-aware, yet the keyboard is also there--think of the latest BlackBerry 9900 or Nokia E6, which feature both a touchscreen *and* a QWERTY keyboard.

    The only problem is whether people are really willing to pay for such an upgrade. OEM-installed on tablets and notebooks, Windows 8 will sell. But who's gonna pay to upgrade an existing Windows 7?
    beranger
    • RE: Could Windows 7 become the new Windows XP?

      @beranger
      Just how easy is Microsoft going to make for users to get to the "classical UI" on boot up? It has best be an option during installation--and changeable via the Control Panel.
      TsarNikky
      • RE: Could Windows 7 become the new Windows XP?

        @TsarNikky

        On the preview the only thing i could find was to run an app that looked like the "classic" interface.
        fairportfan
    • RE: Could Windows 7 become the new Windows XP?

      @beranger
      IF MS would take a cue from Apple and offer the update for a reasonable price, say $30 a machine, or $75 per household, then they could probably push down the number of WinXP installations they have to support, and get most users onto the latest version. I think it would be more profitable, in the long run.
      rphunter42
  • Yes

    Maybe.
    For sure if MS charges $120+ for Windows 8.
    davebarnes
    • RE: Could Windows 7 become the new Windows XP?

      @davebarnes
      You hit the nail on the head - had MS charged $50 per W7 copy XP would go away much quicker. I just got my first ever iMac. The extra hardware price is already compensated by software that I could get at AppStore.
      mjablkowski
  • I agree...

    I'm a technician in Indy and have been saying the above for quite some time now. While the touch screen of 8 is innovative and definitely where technology and interaction with users and their 'machines' is going, there still will be a majority of users in the world that aren't quite ready to jump on the reinvented wheel. <br><br>One major question I'd like to know is if Windows 8 will have a compatibility mode to where you can make the interface look and act like the familiar previous OS's (7, vista, xp)...structure wise that is.
    cfshine78
    • RE: Could Windows 7 become the new Windows XP?

      @cfshine78 Of course it does! Here's the same Windows 8: http://www.flickr.com/photos/longzheng/6144682202/in/photostream

      The BUILD keynote is online again, maybe you should watch it: http://www.buildwindows.com/
      beranger
      • Is this a reference to net-book returns?

        @Spock Impersonator
        <i>"History has proven that if a company where to offer anything other then Windows to their customers, they would not have enough sales to remain solvent at the end of their first month."</i>

        History has shown no such thing. Dell reported that its return rate for net-books was the same, regardless of whether they were running Windows or Linux:

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/08/12/dell_reality_linux_windows_netbooks/

        <i>""We are not seeing any technical reasons for why they are returning Linux machines so...we don't see a significant difference between the return rate for Windows versus the rate for Linux. We've been quite pleased with the stability and technical soundness of the Linux machines."</i>

        Dell is not insolvent either, of course.
        Zogg
    • I don't want fingerprints on my computer's screen. [nt]

      [nt]
      olePigeon
      • I agree, which is why I do not own an iPad

        @olePigeon

        :|
        Tim Cook