Why Windows 7 should be free

Why Windows 7 should be free

Summary: After the Vista fiasco, Microsoft owes its long-suffering customers more than a "screaming deal." They're owed an apology from Steve Ballmer - and a free copy of Vista SP3 Windows 7.

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After the Vista fiasco, Microsoft owes its long-suffering customers more than a "screaming deal." They're owed an apology from Steve Ballmer - and a free copy of Vista SP3 Windows 7.

The backstory Vista's market failure was not a surprise inside Microsoft. Senior development execs - people who'd actually cut code on large enterprise-quality projects - knew that the project's many slips, redefinitions and feature cuts were symptoms of a far deeper problem.

The out-of-control development wasn't just a problem inside Microsoft: it burnt thousands of outside developers too. Many finally gave up on the ever-changing Vista betas to wait for the final shipping product - leading to the application and driver issues that burnt so many users - including Microsoft director and former President Jon Shirley.

Let the grown-ups drive Windows 7 is coming out so quickly and to such great reviews not because Microsoft hired people who could code - but because they re-architected their development process. While that is a Good Thing it also points to why Windows 7 should be free: Vista was flawed from the beginning.

What about XP? XP users should pay for Windows 7 because it is a new OS for them. But Vista users - especially people who bought "Vista Capable" machines or retail copies - are owed much more.

The Storage Bits take Really, is giving people 50% off on the product you should have shipped in the first place a "screaming deal?" I don't think so.

The Vista train wreck - years in the making - is a long term blot on Microsoft's reputation. Doing the right thing for customers today will pay dividends tomorrow.

And the Ballmer apology? He's the CEO and the entire fiasco took place on his watch. The buck stops there and he should own up to it.

Comments welcome, of course.

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Software, Windows

About

Robin Harris has been a computer buff for over 35 years and selling and marketing data storage for over 30 years in companies large and small.

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260 comments
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  • Winning pricing

    You go too far ... better would be ...
    http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-12558-0.html?
    forumID=1&threadID=65724&messageID=1231650.
    The stand-out $25 upgrade price for XP/VISTA to W7
    would be a winning move IMNSHO.
    jacksonjohn
    • Winning pricing

      I was being facetious.

      What about if people could return their Vista discs/licenses for $100 discount?

      Maybe a bit less for XP.

      lehnerus2000
      lehnerus2000
      • Pricing merits

        I really like the $25 upgrade price:

        1. It's simple.
        2. It's less than App?e's $29.
        3. W7 has some added-value over VISTA and so a
        charge is fair, despite the VISTA mess.
        4. It achieves M$'$ target of getting everyone
        up to W7 - even the 'over my dead body' XP
        crowd.

        Pity I'm not a Veep at M$, eh? ;-)
        jacksonjohn
        • I'd go for that

          I'd do a Vista upgrade for $25. I might even do $30, but I won't do more.
          Al_nyc
  • Free for Vista users

    Then again MS screwed over Windows ME users and ME was the single worst piece of software to ever leave Redmond without a "beta" label on it.

    MS has a lot of debt with their customers and none of those debts will ever be paid. When you own a monopoly you can do whatever you want.
    T1Oracle
    • I can't take it anymore

      Monopoly? How do you figure. If I don't want Microsoft I can buy Apple, or use linux. Supposedly, they're better anyway, right?

      Oh, wait, the PREDATORY practice of including Internet Explorer. But wait, if I don't want it, I don't have to use it, do I?

      Cut the monopoly BS.
      vermonter
      • Dude you're flying the wrong way!

        You're trying to go against every court decision in every part of the
        planet (including in the US)! Microsoft have what legislators call a
        monopoly (or geeks would probably call a virtual monopoly - a position
        so near a monopoly that it makes not real difference).

        Listen, if you'd bought Windows Vista Ultimate Edition, you'd know what
        screwed really was. When you think about all the "extras" Ultimate was
        going to give and the half-hearted (cold-hearted?) "extras" that were
        actually delivered, it's sick.

        Should Windows 7 be "free"? Well how does "$29" sound?
        jeremychappell
    • must be a newbie!

      I've said it before and I'm saying it again, every
      other release since 95 has the buyers/users paying
      Mega$nob for the privilege of locating what's
      wrong. That includes 97, Me, Vista. So, when W8
      comes around, skip it outright!
      dlmohn
    • I have to agree...

      Both with your point about ME as well as with the article itself. Vista has been a nightmare second only to ME, and as an owner of Vista Ultimate, I'm not seeing any further "extras" that I could reasonably expect given the sales pitch. How about they use that as marketing? They can do the right thing by the customer, and offer Win 7 to Vista users free because it's one of those "extras"...

      Steve
      sgmunson
      • Ultimate is small change over Professional

        I used Vista Ultimate for 18months until the HDD under packed it in. I have never felt hard done by. What world shattering difference was $20 going to make?

        Vista handled a motherboard change WITHOUT uninstalling or installing ANYTHING manually. XP could never do that! It could handle audio recording with less DPC latency than XP.

        Has Vista actually worked for all the time that you have used it?

        Or are you just trying to bignote yourself, using words like 'fiasco'? I think that your attemps at a beat up are a fiasco.

        Patanjali
  • Windows IS Free From OEM

    People think OEM pays $35 for install, NOT true. There'd be no windows from microsoft if cost OEM money. Money is made by threating end user with shut off & fess ARE TO AVIOD THAT ILLEGAL intended loss of digital data.
    Activation is come on, activation is seperate company posing as microsoft. merely isp monitoring your computer till half baked idea comes along to disenfranchise your system. or pay & pay ,then pay, pay till your drop & pay.

    Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART von DRASHEK M.D.
    VONDRASHEK@...
    • I can forgive...

      ...the butchered English because it probabaly isn't your first language and I admire anyone who can learn a second language.

      But your contention MS gives the OEMs Windows for free is just stupid (ignoring your wild conspiracy theories entirely). MS makes the bulk of their Windows revenue from OEMs, so OEMs *do* pay for Windows. They pay a reduced price for volume, MS not having to support users, etc, but they still pay money for it.

      Why would MS give Windows away when people are willing to pay for it?
      wolf_z
      • Yeah. Willing to pay for Windows just like they're willing to pay US taxes

        Maybe you need to do some more reading!
        No More Microsoft Software Ever!
        • Ermmm ...

          ... perhaps the fact that so many have already plonked their cash down for a copy of Win7 on Amazon, NewEgg, etc., is a pretty clear indicator that people ARE willing to pay for what they want.

          More to the point, the fact that Linux lost 95% of the netbook market in less than one year is another clear indicator that most people are willing to pay a reasonable price for something they want.

          If you don't want it, you have the choice not to buy it and use something else, but don't assume that just because you don't like/want something that there aren't a legion of others who are more than willing to pay for something that they want.
          de-void-21165590650301806002836337787023
          • Re: Ermmm ... Linux loosing netbook market

            Read the fine print...the only reason that linux lost market share on netbooks is because M$ Started heavily subsidising XP Home to netbook makers. Typical M$, they saw an emerging market dominated by a free product and jumped in with both feet to keep their name in front of everyone's face. Anyone remember Netscape? When Netscape browser started gaining popularity, M$ was in the dark, until BG looked around and figured it (the web) out; M$ probably shifted 50% of it's personell resources to IE developement. Then they made it part of the OS on purpose and shipped it bundled so that most users who didn't know any better never even thought of using/buying Netscape because IE was "free".
            dargoth11
  • Vista...just another in a long line of trash OSes from Microsoft.

    Such as : MS Bob & Windows Me.

    Nothing was done for the consumers after those dogs were released...do you really think M$ will do anything for Vista buyers?

    I think we all know the answer to that one. :-(
    IT_Guy_z
    • Snow Leopard....Apple is charging Jobs diciples for Leopard bloat fix.

      Leopard, which came out of the Apple oven half baked, is now getting some of the bloat skinned out and the code updated from ages old to less than ages old. <br>
      Jobs started bashing Vista at WWDC in 2006. He'd never done anything like that before, in fact licensed code from Microsoft early on, then Apple continued to license code from Microsoft. <br>
      He was obviously worried over something when Apple was able to take a hard look at teh Vista beta. He saw something that made him quake. IBM and Google both took desperate leaning actions around that time as well. <br>
      I think he saw that Vista, with all of it's flaws (frankly I've seen none and 1/3 of ALL companies in North America and Europe are running Vista now...that doesn't seem like a failure, does it? ) was a huge success and an OS for the new millenium, not the old monolithic XP that OS X is comparable to. This new, highly scalable, modular OS made him realize he was years behind MS now. Since he could not create something to match it anytime soon, his only option was to desperately try and stop it. <br>
      Unfortunately, even Vista, which has over 20% of the world's marketshare, is seeing a rise in market now that win7 has a ship date and is compatible. Companies that has been waiting are now rolling out Vista knowing they have a great forward path at Win7 SP1 and can roll in new purchases w/o a problem when they see fit.
      <br>
      Windows 7 is so much more now, no top of Vista and a true release. It's not a snow leopard update where Apple is simply ditching as much bloat as it can and moving forward a bit.....hey full 64 bit now, way to go Apple. Only 10 years behind everyone else. <br>
      ;)
      xuniL_z
      • Actually.. Windows 7 IS a lot like Snow Leopard...

        While there ARE a lot of new goodies in Win 7, there's an awful lot of stuff that got cut out. The code, like, Snow kitty was optimized. That's why Win 7 is getting the rave reviews - it's much lighter on it's feet.
        Wolfie2K3
        • I know that wolfie2k3.

          But consider the source to whom I was responding, and what he'd written. <br>
          I am not emotionally attached to anything besides my wife, son and the Lord above, but don't you get tired of endless Windows bashing? <br>
          I know that t*t for tat is not helpful, but nothing else has done a bit of good over time.
          xuniL_z
        • Actually, Win7 includes a TON of NEW code!

          True, Win7 removed a number of features that will be shipped separately (e.g. Email client, Movie Maker, etc), but a TON of new stuff was added to Win7.

          And sometimes, to make something go faster, you have to actually write more code. For example, it takes more code (and a hell of a lot more testing) to properly implement async operations. This is one of the primary reasons Win7 is so much more responsive than any prior version of Windows - a HUGE amount of the UI in particular has been made MUCH more asynchronous than it was previously.

          So while, yes, Win7 has enjoyed SOME code removal, it's benefitted MUCH more from additional code to reduce blocking operations and to granularize previously monolithic structures (e.g. thread dispatcher locks & memory allocation locks).
          de-void-21165590650301806002836337787023