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It's RIP Vista as Windows 7 is launched

Louisa Hearn (The Age) | Oct. 22, 2009
Three years after Microsoft introduced the bug-ridden and poorly received Windows Vista to the world, Microsoft launches Windows 7 knowing full well that another disaster like Vista could spell curtains for the once indomitable software giant.

A family pack being offered in the US to cut software costs for home users will not be immediately available in Australia.

"We are going to test it in a few markets around the world. If it is successful there, we will launch it within three to six months in other regions," DeBragga said.

Windows 7 to dominate next year

Research company Gartner predicts that, in 2010, Windows 7 will become the dominant operating system on new PCs with nearly 66 per cent of all new PCs preloaded with Windows 7 by the end of the year.

"When looking at the overall installed base - Windows 7 is expected to overtake Vista as the main operating system in 2012 with 53 per cent of installed PCs running that version of Windows OS," the researcher said.

Although many of the improvements to Windows 7 were first conceived in its predecessor, Vista, its performance was widely criticised. Many businesses and consumers preferred to remain with XP than to upgrade.

Gartner said it "categorised Windows 7 as a 'polishing' release on top of the architectural change that the Windows Vista 'plumbing' release delivered".

Mistakes, Microsoft's made a few

De Bragga said the company acknowledged that some development decisions it made in regard to Vista had negatively influenced its market perception and subsequent adoption.

"With Vista we made conscious trade-offs with compatibility to put an emphasis on security. With reduced application and hardware device compatibility, we knew we were going to take hits.

"We also launched multiple betas and release candidates. Because we made so many versions available, our ecosystem got frustrated with us and lost confidence in Vista," he said.

Harvey expects sales to jump 30 per cent

Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey said computers were the only category of products performing poorly in his stores in recent months.

Harvey, who personally sold the first Australian copy of Windows 7 at the midnight launch in Alexandria, predicts the operating system will increase hardware sales by 30 per cent.

"The weakest part of our business at the moment is computer hardware, because we believe they've all been hanging out for this," Harvey said.

"Every other category we've got is showing good market growth but the weak spot, the very weak spot, is computers."

Advertising is the latest battle ground

Advertising is another area in which Microsoft is attempting to reinvent itself. Not only is it marketing a brand new operating system, but it is also attempting to turn the tables on Apple in response to its recent campaign that depicts PC users as bumbling nerds.

One of its more notable recent ad campaigns featured Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, but its efforts met with a lukewarm reception.


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