10 reasons why Windows 7 could fail – A “fanboy’s” response

Let me start by saying that yes, I am biased. Yes, I am what you would call a “fanboy”. And yes, I do freelance work as a speaker/trainer for Microsoft Austria.
That said, the article that this is in response to, is very biased as well, and worse, it is full of factual errors and claims without sources.

This is my response to the September 24th, 2009 article “10 reasons why Windows 7 could fail” on TechRepublic, by Jack Wallen, a declared Linux enthusiast.

10r1

I’ve run into many PC users who like Vista. My wife being one of them. Actually most Users who have Vista, like it. It’s those who skipped or avoided Vista, who don’t like it.
Vista has had major compatibility problems in the beginning and its performance problems on the lower end of PC hardware, particularly on older PCs or on Netbooks are undeniable. UAC has bothered many Users for asking for permission too often.
All these things that people complained about in Windows Vista have been fixed with Windows 7. Compatibility, Performance, UAC among many others.
What people have not complained about – and I’ve talked to thousands of users in the last three years – is the Aero look of Windows Vista.

What’s been bad in Vista is gone in Windows 7 – what was good stayed. Microsoft really listened to the users this time.

10r2

Windows 7 runs on really, really old Hardware. I have Windows 7 running on a Notebook purchased September 1st, 2004. It also runs better/faster on the same hardware than Vista, another point the author failed to mention.
How big is the number of people with hardware older than 5 years interested in upgrading to a new operating system?
Also, Windows sells primarily preinstalled through OEMs as well as through corporate license agreements. The number of individual users who actually go and buy a Windows upgrade is a tiny fraction of Windows sales.

However, there are cheap ways of getting Windows 7: With family packs for 150$ / 150€ for three licenses, users actually willing to upgrade will have one cheap option, although only of a limited time. Corporate Licensing agreements similarly will offer cheap upgrade options. People who bought a new computer after June 26th will get Windows 7 for free. In some markets, such as Germany/Austria/Switzerland, the much cheaper System Builder Versions can be purchased by end users. And there were time limited offers for Windows 7 for 50$ / 100$ in many markets, including the USA and Europe, where hundreds of thousands of people already ordered Windows 7.

If all else fails, you can still purchase an uprade to Home Premium, which will cost you $119.99, and upgrade to Professional can be purchased for $199.99. Is that too expensive? I don’t think so, and after all, price is made by supply and demand and what customers are actually willing to pay.

But even if the author is right, and Windows 7 upgrades are way too expensive, as said before, only a small percantage of users get Windows through the retail channel, most get it preinstalled on their computer, or through a corporate license.

 10r3 

XP isn’t popular. Vista is unpopular.

I’ve talked to many corporate customers who can’t wait to kick XP out the door as soon as they can. It’s hard to deploy, manage and maintain, has trouble efficiently using today’s hardware, in some cases OEM’s have stopped providing XP drivers for certain hardware and chipsets, and this will only get worse after the sale of XP stops.
On the other end, ask enthusiasts such as gamers, and you will find that at game competitions and Lan parties a much higher than average share of Vista users and now, at many occasions you will find that up to a third of gamers are already running Windows 7, typically 64-Bit, to support their >4GB RAM gaming machines.

I also wonder, why in September 2009, the author uses a survey from February that is limited to business machines. In August of 2009, in the USA, only 49.97% of users are still using Windows XP. (In my home market of Austria, the number of XP users is still a bit higher at 56.69%)

Business users have traditionally waited a long time to adopt a new OS, the same was true for Windows XP. It’s market share on business PCs three years after launch was not much higher than Vista’s market share today.

 10r4

Oh boy.

Most users will be happy with one of those two editions:

  1. Home User - buy Home Premium.
  2. Professional or Business User - buy Professional

Under certain circumstances, a client will end up with

  • Starter: Want cheap and only cheap, buy a netbook with Windows 7 Starter.
    If you don’t like the limitations, buy a Windows Anytime Upgrade for 74,90€ (Sorry, I don’t know the US prices right now) – 10 minutes later you have Home Premium
  • Need language packs and Bitlocker drive Encryption, buy Ultimate

The claim that “editions are too confusing” coming from a linux fanboy sounds very funny, considering Linux comes in literally hundreds of distributions.

 10r5

As mentioned before – Upgrades are a tiny share of Windows sales. Even if no one upgrades from XP, this will not lessen the success of Windows 7 a bit.

Upgrades are available for Windows XP. You just can’t do a so called “in-place-upgrade”. You have to backup your files and settings, clean install Windows 7, and then copy the files and settings back and reinstall applications.

A clean install is and has always been a better choice to upgrade to a new Version of Windows. Tools such as Windows Easy Transfer and the User State Migration Toolkit will help the consumer and small and medium business user. Large companies have only one way of deploying an operating system and that is imaging. The limitation of not being able to do an in-place upgrade to Windows 7 will not harm them in any way. To the contrary, imaging is much easier with Windows Vista and Windows 7 than it was with Windows XP.
Also, the author needs to check his sources and do some more research. There will not be a special European version. The version that comes in Europe is the same as in the rest of the world. That was announced back in July.


 10r6

Windows 7 is great for netbooks. In fact it has been optimized to run on netbooks, and I have tested it on many models. I usually used the Ultimate edition (32Bit) with Aero.

As mentioned, Windows 7 Starter is a limited edition for the ultra cheap netbooks. It was limited to compete in price with Netbooks that run linux. (On that topic – most retailers – at least here in Austria - have stopped shipping Linux netbooks because people keep returning them)

Again: If you don’t like the limitations, buy a Windows Anytime Upgrade for 74,90€ and you will have Home Premium 10 minutes later.

Many higher end netbooks will actually come with Home Premium preinstalled.

As to the limitations you are listing, I am only aware of the second one; please provide sources for the first and third one. I can stream media just fine on my Netbook with Starter Edition of Windows 7 (RTM).

Maybe what you mean is that you can’t stream media from a Netbook with Windows 7 Starter to another PC or Device.

 10r7

Please provide sources for your claim. I use single sign on both with fingerprint and smartcard in Windows 7 and it works just fine. I know of three big international corporations who are early adopters of Windows 7 and I know for a fact that their employees are successfully using smart card based single sign on.
Windows 7 even offers improvements both in the field of biometric login and remote access, such as VPN (namely the Direct Access Feature of Windows 7 Enterpise and Ultimate)

 10r8

I am not going to start listing here why Windows 7 is the better alternative.

Let me say this much:

  • Linux has been said to win the desktop every year for the last 10 years. It has yet to reach the 1% market share.
  • Apple makes great hardware and Mac OS X is a good OS.
    A high percentage of Mac Users however use Windows on their Macs using either virtualization or Boot Camp. So Macs actually help Windows Sales.
    One of the new features of Snow Leopard is Boot Camp 3.0 which comes with full Windows 7 support and drivers, (including 64-Bit drivers) for Windows 7.

 10r9

There is more than one solution to make XP apps run on Windows 7. The compatibility wizard, for instance, actually solves a high percentage of compatibility issues. Bigger companies can use App-V or Med-V to make old apps work on Windows 7.
Regarding Virtualization Technology: XP Mode is a feature of Windows 7 Professional or higher editions. Typically business PC’s do have virtualization support, consumer notebooks may not.
Oh and PCs with less than 2GB of Ram haven’t been sold in at least 3 years in the mass market. Go to a computer store and you will find that 9 out of 10 PCs come with 4GB or more of RAM. Exceptions being only the netbooks, of course.

 10r10

DRM – the old topic that Microsoft haters throw in every time a new Windows comes out. Does iTunes not use DRM? Oh wait, what you actually mean is Output Content Protection. But it’s easier to use the buzz word DRM. Reader’s won’t notice, right?
I’ve written an extensive article  (only in German) on this topic.
To make it short – Output Content Protection only applies to content that has been protected by the publisher. Such as BluRays. Content that is not protected by the publisher can be recorded at any time by any device, and I have done that many times before.

What are your alternatives for playing protected content such as a BluRay or protected Audio/Video on Demand on a computer:

  • A Mac? No. Not supported.
  • Linux? No. Not supported, not legally anyway.

There are always ways to work around copy and content protection on a computer. Many of them are illegal in most countries, however.

I hate copy and content protection and DRM as much as you do, but you should attack the recording industry, not Microsoft, for making it possible to legally play such things as a BluRay or certain protected TV channels, or Audio/Video on Demand services, on your computer.

Kommentare (39) -

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25.09.2009 14:38:10 #

Tolle Argumente von deiner Seite - Jack Wallen sollte bei Linux-Themen bleiben, wo er sich auskennt ;)

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Christian Haberl Christian Haberl ist seit mehr als 10 Jahren als EDV Berater, Vortragender und Trainer tätig. Er kann sich nicht für ein Spezialgebiet entscheiden, drum heißt dieser Blog auch "Kraut & Rüben Blog" - Unter seine Interessen fallen Web-Entwicklung auf ASP.NET Basis, Information Worker & Productivity Technologien (Windows, Office), Server (Windows Server, Small Business, Virtualisierung, Exchange), Scripting, Spam Filtering/Security und Digital Home. Christian Haberl ist auch einer der führenden Produktspezialisten für Windows Media Center und Windows Home Server und ist Direktor des ClubDigitalHome.
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Im Frühjahr 2009 wurde Christian Haberl von Microsoft Österreich zum "Influencer" ernannt, weiters wurde er Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist / Microsoft Certified Connected Home Integrator sowie Microsoft Certified Consumer Sales Specialist.

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