Part of the work that's been keeping me busy the last few weeks have been involved with evaluating Windows 7 Embedded and/or the final released version of Windows 7 Pro, Ultimate, Business, Supreme (whatever). The ambivalence is because I don't think it buys me much of anything I don't already have with Windows XP Pro or Embedded.
The Quebec CTP 2011 is Windows 7 Embedded and I've been working with it trying to determine if there is anything my company might gain by using it instead of Windows XP Embedded. Not much.
However if Microsoft wanted to truly create something worth buying, they might consider the idea of merging Windows 7 Ultimate-Whatever with the Embedded product and allow customers the option of “building” or compiling images using the Quebec infrastructure. Combine that with a “license” to build up to 5 images, the customer then could put as much or as little as wanted into those 5 systems.
If Microsoft really wanted to make things work well for their stockholders, they would put it on a subscription model, allow customers to download upgrades for a fee to their licensed systems.
The Quebec ISO is practically a live DVD image. It will install itself and put what the customer wants on the system compile. It calls home to the mothership and gets registered. It requires an Internet connection.
Yes the customer of this particular version will need to be more knowledgeable than the typical Joe Sixpack BUT Microsoft does has a fairly high percentage of those since Windows has been around for a long time. I could see it being an attractive package for Windows wonks. It might even boost sales a bit by appealing to the techno-snobs and Windows fanbois. They'll just have to have it.
(You know if you ignore the word Windows, it sounds a lot like Linux, if you get rid of the stockholders.)