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.