Microsoft Windows 7 in 2011? No, They Need It Sooner.


Rumors and speculation are all over the place on Windows 7. It’ll be here in 2010. No, it looks more like 2009. Oh look, screenshots! Wait, it’s gonna be 2011. No, no, it must closer than that, says Mary Jo Foley, let’s try 2009 again.

The articles just keep coming. Not only does Microsoft hint that Windows 7 will have everything Apple’s iPhone does (!!!), they have no problem talking up Windows 7 every chance they get.

Normally I’d say talk of their next OS being next year is just Microsoft FUD, hoping to get people to hang on to XP until then. Microsoft traditionally over promises and under delivers, especially on release dates. However, I believe in this case it’s different.

I think Mary Jo is correct, and Windows 7 will be targeted for 2009. Further, Microsoft will try to make that date no matter what. They’ll drop features if they have to.

Why would Microsoft do that? Put simply, it’s because Windows 7 is the Anti-Vista.

It’s been covered here and elsewhere what a bust Windows Vista is. Many MS apologists have tried to defend it, but even they’ve come around recently to acknowledge what was obvious to anyone else watching the industry.

The latest example of this is a piece at Microsoft Watch from Joe Wilcox with great lines like this:

Vista is a kind of leprosy, within Microsoft. Pretty much everyone associated with the operating system’s launch is infected and avoided. Vista is no path for Microsoft career advancement.

There are few even modestly high-level people responsible for Vista’s development that either haven’t left the Windows group or the company.

But the best one is this, at the conclusion:

If Windows Vista + Windows Live is only about marketing, the strategy will fumble in the present but perhaps succeed with the next operating system. Microsoft can’t move fast enough. Can you say, “Internet time?”

Which brings me back to Mary Jo’s article. Yes, I agree Microsoft will push Windows 7 out in 2009. They have to. The longer they leave Vista as their flagship OS the more of a beating they’ll take. And while 2009 sounds close, they’ve got nearly two years to make that date. They can certainly put something together in that time.

Meanwhile, a few businesses will start to roll Vista out in another six months or so. And MS will get a service pack out, though it won’t help much. And they’ll publish their usual press releases with big numbers and smile and wave at the camera.

But the undeniable fact is that now, over a year after its release, the jury on Vista is in. Its perception is cast in stone, and despite ongoing improvements only the next generation OS can possibly clear the bad taste Microsoft has left in all too many mouths.

8 thoughts on “Microsoft Windows 7 in 2011? No, They Need It Sooner.

  1. Chuck, I agree. Some variant of UNIX as an underpinning to the OS seems to make the most sense. Even Apple didn’t try to reinvent the wheel. The NeXT OS in 1989 was so far ahead of its time and a pleasure to use (I still own one of the original cubes).

    When Apple bought the NeXT OS for 400 million (if I remember correctly), it turned out to be the deal of the century.

    MS wants to keep its proprietary OS and is stuck trying to create what has already been perfected over decades. This is a huge task, one they haven’t shown to have the talent for.

  2. Tom,
    No, I agree with you on all of your points. I just wanted you to elaborate:-)

    Everyone has an opinion. I think MSFT should scrap Windows and start over. I think it’s simply too bloated and is never going to be a secure, streamlined and capable OS. My two experiences with Vista have literally been disasters. I don’t wish it on anyone. Why didn’t they buy Be and just put their Windows interface on it? It was fast, modern, ran on PowerPC and Intel processors and had great 3-D capabilities.

    Unix seems to be the way to go. Why is it that everyone understands that BUT Microsoft?

  3. I don’t know anything about release dates and would not venture to guess other than the fact that doing *something* very quickly to head off the bad press is very likely as Tom says in the article.

    I wish we could get more of an idea *what* Windows 7.0 is going to be however rather than when, as I can’t conceive of anything that Microsoft is likely to do that will “fix” the problems Vista has.

    If you look into the why’s of Vista’s slowness and underperformance, it often comes down to the draconian DRM that infests everything from simple file copies to drivers. In many cases this seems to be more at fault than the clunky underlying structure of the OS itself. Microsoft can “work on” the OS all they like but it seems unlikely that they will have an epiphany on DRM and remove the onerous overhead it puts on the system.

    I don’t think about Windows much, but when I do, I am just a tiny bit fascinated as to exactly what MS thinks is the way out of the corner they have painted themselves into. How exactly will they make Vista perform if they are still going to be doing the Homeland Security thing on every one and zero that moves through the system?

  4. My only observation Tom is that IF Microsoft deploy Windows 7 in say December 2009, which is when I believe business will start to deploy Vista en mass – 2009 – as it will have gone through real-world battle testing and hardware would be cheap enough to run it by then; I would say that business will reject Windows 7 for yet another 1 or 2 years as once again to will be different enough from Vista to make them wary. I also think Windows Xp will be around until at least 2009 before they finally kill it.

  5. Chuck,

    By Anti-Vista, I mean it’s what Microsoft can hold out to their customer base to bypass the severe disappointment, bad press, and overall terrible perception Vista has.

    Six to nine months ago people were talking about a Service Pack to serve the same purpose. But Microsoft didn’t fully realize how bad Vista was being received, and put a brave face on for too long. I believe they thought they could change people’s minds if they denied reality long enough, or that eventually the overwhelming numbers of new PCs with Vista installed would give them the boost they needed.

    But Vista stayed as something generally seen to be avoided, and huge PC sales didn’t materialize because people demanded (and got) XP on new machines. For 2007 Vista was sold on less than half of all PCs. Ouch! For Microsoft, which owns that market, it’s a bitter thing to take.

    Now of course they’re in the throes of getting SP1 ready, but word is already out that it doesn’t speed things up nor does it solve all the incompatibilities.

    When your current OS has a major perception problem — to the point where you’re allocating resources to get another service pack on your older system and having to fend off petitions and negative press daily — how do you get out from under that stigma? In my view only the next OS can do that.

    For all we know, in 2-3 service packs Vista could be a killer OS, but it’s too late. Its reputation is set. It’s Microsoft’s Apple III.

    This does not mean they have to make it look and act more like XP, however. I doubt seriously that Windows 7 will do away with the Aero interface. They may be able to tune it for better performance, and by the end of next year there will be even more machines that can run it smoothly. Besides, what would they replace it with? Going back to XP would be a big step backwards.

    I think MS will add some marketing stuff (like the ‘touch’ features blogged about), and basically just get it right this time. Perhaps Windows 7 will play Windows 98 to Vista’s Windows 95 (Win98 ironed out a lot of wrinkles in 95, yet on the surface was pretty much the same thing).

  6. What Microsoft is saying about Windows 7 is basically what they said about Vista! Why should we start believing them now?

  7. I agree with you on this. Isn’t that sorta what Microsoft had to do with Windows XP, when Me proved to be such a stinker? Another reason they have to release something is that Apple is gaining on them in mindshare. Apple could very well have the next upgrade of OS X by that time and MS really needs to step up their game or risk losing their relevance forever.

  8. When you say 7 is the anti-Vista, what do you mean? That 7 will look and act more like XP than Vista? That Vista has too much eye-candy and is a resource hog so 7 will be trimmed down? I would appreciate your comments.

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