Microsoft steps up its business push for Windows 7, related products

Microsoft steps up its business push for Windows 7, related products

Summary: To date, Microsoft's messaging around Windows 7 has been focused primarily on the consumer market. But starting September 1, the Softies began cranking up the business-focused marketing machine around Windows 7 and a number of other soon-to-be-shipping enterprise products and services.

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To date, Microsoft's messaging around Windows 7 has been focused primarily on the consumer market. But starting September 1, the Softies began cranking up the business-focused marketing machine around Windows 7 and a number of other soon-to-be-shipping enterprise products.

On September 1, Microsoft made available "while supplies last" a free, 90-day trial version of 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 Enterprise Edition. Enterprise is the business-user-focused release of Windows 7 that will be available to Software Assurance licensees only. (However, the trial is for those without Software Assurance, so if trial participants decide to buy Enterprise Edition, they will need to get Software Assurance to do so.)  Those interested in test-driving the release must activate their copy within 10 days of obtaining the bits.

Microsoft also announced on September 1 availability of the final Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise bits for volume licensees who currently don't have a Software Assurance license. To entice more businesses to upgrade, Microsoft is making the Professional version available via Volume License resellers at a 15 percent discount through February 28, 2010.

During a worldwide series of business launch events, kicking off on in late September, Microsoft will be touting Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Exchange Server 2010, the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), the Forefront security suite and the System Center family of management products. The theme of these launches is "The New Efficiency" -- how to do more with less. Attendees will receive a free copy of Windows 7. Several of the launches, including ones in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Jose and Washington, D.C., already are sold out. CEO Steve Ballmer is headlining the September 29 San Francisco event, which will be Webcast.

Microsoft released to manufacturing Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in July and began providing various user communities with the final bits over the past month. Exchange Server 2010 hit Release Candidate (RC) status in late August; the product is slated to go final before the end of the year. MDOP 2010 is due by early 2010 (and is on an every-six-month update schedule). Microsoft is rolling out the "Stirling" release of its Forefront products starting in late 2009 and through the first part of 2010.

Microsoft has a number of irons in the System Center fires. (I'll have a separate post or two on what's going on with System Center coming soon.) Meanwhile, on September 1, Microsoft announced plans to offer small/mid-size business users a bundle of Microsoft System Center Essentials 2007 and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 via a new licensing agreement direct from Microsoft or via various OEMs (including Dell, Fujitsu and Lenovo).

While Microsoft is continuing to use its tried-but-true "Better Together" concept to sell business users multiple products simultaneously, the company is expected to emphasize more the ROI/cost-savings message as it rolls out its enterprise offerings in the coming months. Microsoft's growing stable of virtualization products is key to that cost message -- as is the Softies' desire to keep the pressure on virtualization leader VMware.

Meanwhile, expect to hear more from Microsoft around how small/mid-size businesses can afford its technologies. The company is planning to beat the Windows Server 2008 Foundation -- an entry-level version of Windows Server. (I'd think the Softies would be refreshing the code base to include the Windows Server 2008 R2 bits some time soon.) "Infrastructure optimization" is another big theme Microsoft is likely to be pushing in the coming months.

And I'd think this fall might not be too soon for Microsoft to finally put some real meat on its "private cloud" bones with a more comprehensive explanation of exactly how Microsoft intends to allow business users to run and access sensitive data in a protected-cloud environment. Microsoft definitely needs to provide more details of its strategy here, especially since Amazon threw down its Virtual Private Cloud gauntlet...

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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22 comments
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  • Why do I want Windows 7?

    This is a serious question. I've been using XP Pro for a while now, and am pretty happy with it. It works well, and doesn't seem to give me many problems.

    I don't understand what Windows 7 brings to the table.

    I don't have security issues (I've never gotten a virus, and the only other malware I've ever attracted are the occasional tracking cookie).

    I don't play games much, so DX9 seems sufficient.

    The only attraction I've seen so far is the addition of a time quota system. If I really wanted this, I suppose I could go third party, but I've decided I'll go with quality parenting with my children, rather than using a technology solution.

    The only other reason I can see for moving to Windows 7 would be periphrials that lack XP drivers. So far this has not happened to me.

    What else is there?

    Regards,

    Hans

    Looks Confused
    • test it

      Test it yourself and find out. You might be surprised.

      But hey, if you don't have security issues with XP and it suits your needs, go nuts. You are not the guy we have to worry about propigating infections on the web.
      djmik
      • WASTE of money......

        Tell me how a $400 OS and a $700 Office Suite is needed for basic computing....

        A Linux distro such as RHEL/Ubuntu/SuSE have all of the features that a company needs and support. Plus, it is SECURE you do not have a 10G operating system that requires patches to reboot every other day.

        Windows = Reboot Reboot Reboot on everything...

        Linux distro's I can recompile, remove, install, go into single user mode, or other run levels without REBOOTING!!!

        Such a SIMPLE concept Windows cannot do this, it is inferior technology sorry.

        Companies are NOT going to be spending money on this, they are getting rid of software licenses to keep the doors open.

        Open Office does MORE than MS Office can do, it can actually convert a file to PDF and so on... Imagine that, and for NO cost.

        It is nothing more than a way to get money out of someone there is NO need for this old methodology of Windows (dime a dozen) point and click paper MCSE's...

        next.
        Christian_<><
        • Much like your posts.

          A waste.
          Hallowed are the Ori
        • If crap is all you need, then you don't need Win 7...Linux is sufficient

          nt
          transposeIT
    • You don't HAVE to upgrade, but...

      There are more new in Windows 7 than most people think:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windows_7

      It is fine if you want to use an old OS, no-one is stopping you. People that have used Windows 7 (including me) are finding that the overall improvements in Windows 7 are very nice coming from both XP and Vista.
      Qbt
      • So which features would he update for?

        He's happy with XP Pro, so clearly improved security and modern
        desktop effects aren't important.

        Whilst 7 is zippier than Vista, it isn't over XP.

        Driver support for XP is as good/better as 7.

        7 doesn't offer significant technology changes (mocked by Qbt on
        other platforms) so his applications are unlikely to require later APIs.

        His hardware will likely be underpowered if bought with XP.

        Windows 7 is shaping up as the best OS MS has ever produced. The
        transformation towards OS X continues (dock, expose, shell, directory
        structure, applets, etc). It might be worth USD29 for tormented Vista
        users
        (really any price), but what features you've link to would be worth the
        move from XP?

        I love the 64 and 32-bit folders and IE versions - quite quaint;-)
        Richard Flude
    • The advantages may be subtle but ...

      ... they are there!

      Besides the obvious - that Microsoft has ceased support for XP Home and support for XP Pro will be completely phased out by 2014 (just around the corner), Windows 7 is just all around easier and safer to use.

      If your configuration is static and you are not in the habit of adding peripherals or software, then by all means, stay where you are until it is time to replace your hardware (and then go to Windows 7) but if you want to add hardware or software, it will be much easier to do under Windows 7 than under Windows XP.

      Windows 7 is much more secure. You do not have to (nor are you even permitted to) run in administrator mode under normal conditions. If you do suddenly need admin privileges, Windows 7 will prompt you for adminsitrator credentials - even from an account defined as a standard user. Windows XP will force you to log out of a standard user account and log back in as an administrator. This is why most users to not set up any standard user accounts under XP.

      Under Windows XP, web-based code can quickly and easily install itself without your knowledge. This cannot happen under Windows 7 (unless you turn off all of the UAC protections).

      Many administrator functions work better under Windows 7 then under XP and setting up wireless networking is absolutely trivial. Adding peripherals is simple as well because Windows 7 will automatically download the drivers you need directly from the web.

      In the end, there really is very little justification for paying retail to upgrade to Windows 7 - especially if you need to upgrade your hardware as well - but when the time comes to replace your hardware, go with Windows 7. You will be glad that you did.

      Still not sure? Get a copy of Windows 7 retail media and leave off the activation key. It will allow you to install wahtever edition you want and use it for 30 days (renewable for up to 120 days) for free.

      See for yourself ...
      M Wagner
      • 2014 is just around the corner???

        [i]Besides the obvious - that Microsoft has ceased support for XP Home and support for XP Pro will be completely phased out by 2014 (just around the corner)[/i]

        End of support for XP is about 4 1/2 years away. I don't consider that "just around the corner". And it's my understanding XP Home is being supported until 2014 too.
        ye
    • Why Win7?

      I do understand that it is possible to try Windows 7 as a demo. I'm not sure that I want to nuke my xp installation to try it out though.

      I have a few feature questions if anyone happens to know:

      1) Can you drag and drop a file onto a taskbar Icon?
      2) Are multiple desktops supported (like the UNIX desktop pager systems).
      3) Does the new calculator do RPN?
      4) I use the "classic" desktop in xp. Is this available in Win7?
      5) Can Win7 be installed to external media, like a memory stick, or SD card, or even an external USB hard drive?

      I appreciate the responses everyone has given.

      Thank you very much,

      Hans
      Looks Confused
      • RE:

        1) Can you drag and drop a file onto a taskbar Icon?
        - As far as I know, your file will dragged to a jumplist for the corresponding program. (IE: Word, Excel, etc...) However, I *think* (keyword there) they changed that for the final release so that you can pin a separate file.

        2) Are multiple desktops supported (like the UNIX desktop pager systems).
        - No.

        3) Does the new calculator do RPN?
        - Not sure what that is. Someone else can help me out here...

        4) I use the "classic" desktop in xp. Is this available in Win7?
        - Yes, however, there is no classic start menu.

        5) Can Win7 be installed to external media, like a memory stick, or SD card, or even an external USB hard drive?
        - No.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
        • And the no's have it

          3) Does the new calculator do RPN?

          RPN - Reverse Polish Notation

          No
          Richard Flude
        • Actualy

          on 2 you can with third party software I think its included in winternals if I remember correctly.
          jdbukis@...
      • How to try it without nuking the old system

        The new calculator doesn't have RPN, but it can calculate mortgages and the likes and convert units.

        The list of [i]removed[/i] features is on wikipedia also, just follow the link at the end of the entry referred to in a previous response. Personally, I don't miss them.

        You do not need to nuke the existing installation. If you have about 16 GB of disk space available, you can try Windows 7 without changing your partition structure or deleting the existing OS. This is possible because Windows 7 can be installed to and then booted form a virtual disk (just a file on another disk). [Note: I think it works for Ultimate edition only though.]

        Here is a link to one of the turorials: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/tutorials/350531/how-to-install-windows-7-to-a-virtual-hard-disk.

        Please note that this will replace the XP boot manager with the new Vista/Windows 7 boot manager. If you are uncomfortable with it, know upfront how to restore the original XP boot manager (I knew ages ago but I forgot). Your physical disk will be available as another drive. The new system will use the physical disk for swap file.

        You may want to experiment with the options of the "create vdisk" command to create a smaller disk (I think 16 GB shoud be enough) or an expandable (instead of fixed) disk. Expandable disk may save you some more GBs, but may make the system slower or unstable.

        Have fun.
        Earthling2
      • Absolutely.

        1) Can you drag and drop a file onto a taskbar Icon?

        Yes, and you can get a jumplist for the corresponding program.

        2) Are multiple desktops supported (like the UNIX desktop pager systems).

        Yes. Through 3rd party software.


        3) Does the new calculator do RPN?

        Who cares, there are plenty of RPN calculators available.

        4) I use the "classic" desktop in xp. Is this available in Win7?

        Somewhat. But that's like asking if the new Lexus has a hand crank starter. It's NOT XP.

        5) Can Win7 be installed to external media, like a memory stick, or SD card, or even an external USB hard drive?

        Nope. But 99% of users couldn't care less.



        Can Linux run Microsoft Office? Can Linux run Chrome, IE8, 7, and 6, Safari, and Firefox? Can Linux run Adobe CS4? Can Linux run Visual Studio? Can Linux run all the latest Games?

        Linux is a little toy compare to Windows, get over yourself, it's NOT a better option for almost anyone.
        trance2tec
        • Hmmmm..

          [i]Linux is a little toy compare to Windows, get over yourself, it's NOT a better option for almost anyone.[/i]

          Actually, Windows is the little toy, but it's more supported by the rest of the world.
          TedKraan
    • Why?

      You don't *really* need it. However, the time has come where if you purchase a new PC, downgrading will just hurt you.


      Windows 7 has major improvements compared to XP

      It has better stability
      Better security
      And Better compatibility


      No one is forcing you to upgrade, however, XP is quickly becoming outdated technology, if not already. Vista introduced a lot of good stuff which has been tweaked in 7.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: Microsoft steps up its business push for Windows 7, related products

    Its only natural for them to do that since Microsoft Windows 7 will be the operating system to use. Might as well upgrade now and get it over with rather than waiting and run into issues.
    Loverock Davidson
  • It's not about what anyone 'wants'

    Corporate IT departments around the globe have to field
    something, and when Microsoft pulls support for XP,
    you'll need something to upgrade to.
    HollywoodDog
    • But the news is sounding quite good

      that straight out of the gate it appears that many people do [i]want[/i] it.
      GuidingLight