With its recent pricing announcement on Windows 7, Microsoft appears to have followed the old American formula of swapping a dollar sign for a pound symbol but that shouldn’t prevent the operating system from being a solid success among UK enterprises.
In uncertain times, you’re usually better off following word of mouth rather than market research and the current consensus of wisdom has it that the market is not as slow as the shenanigans of the macro economy suggests it should be. Companies that have held off on major IT deployments for a few years are having to shift now or attempt to survive on risky and wonky old platforms. Over and over again, the view I hear is that people will spend but they demand a return on investment of nine or 12 months.
Rather like being accompanied by an ugly friend when out on the pull, Windows 7 will prosper in part because Windows Vista has been such a mess. Companies that passed on that ‘upgrade’ will feel that Microsoft has served its penance. and they can get back on the OS refresh cycle and replace XP, a steady-as-she-goes release that has been one of Microsoft’s quiet success stories.
Like XP, Windows 7 has little in the way of whizz-bang features but is aimed at being a no-brainer upgrade that will hold few surprises for hard-pushed admins. The addition of XP Mode is a stroke of genius that will provide a nice-to-have fallback for organisations that are fearful regarding application compatibility. It may well be that they will not use it but it is a parachute in the back pocket of CIOs and may help them hurdle objections to Windows 7 among other influencers.
Finally, for those companies that have a Microsoft subscription licence, Windows 7 should be a shoo-in that adds next to nothing in the way of cost. With PC, processor and memory prices so low, there’s little to block its progress.
Some pundits argue that recent Microsoft missteps leave it vulnerable to incursions by Apple, the Linux community or others. In fact, what is remarkable is how steadily Windows has held its market share over the years, particularly in business. It is the Rock of Gibraltar of global IT infrastructure and Windows 7 will be yet another bastion.