My 10/25/09 Missoulian column
There’s lots more news about Windows 7 since Microsoft released the new version of its operating system for general sales last Thursday with a launch party in New York City.
And it runs the full spectrum. Some reviewers advise users to consider not upgrading from Windows XP, as it takes a lot of work to erase the hard drive and reinstall programs, while others say they’ll stick with Vista, as it works well. In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Still others say $120 (and up) for a Windows 7 upgrade is worth it, and reflecting that sentiment, Windows 7 appears to be flying off the shelves.
Last Friday, the different versions of Windows 7 held six of the top 10 best-seller spots on Amazon.com, and news reports said initial sales were strong all over. At brick-and-mortar stores, people lined up last Wednesday night to be among the first among their friends to run 7.
All pro-and-con reviews aside, the release of a new operating system is a major economic event for all involved: for Microsoft, the users and businesses that buy 7, and even more so in this recovering economy.
Microsoft’s overall sales fell last year for the first time since 1986, so it is banking on 7, hence the public relations campaign to get people moving toward the new version of Windows.
Windows 7 has stiffer hardware requirements, so if users decide to buy a new machine instead of doing an upgrade, manufacturers are ready with new models.
And then there are the software upgrades required for Windows 7, as not all programs will run under the new system with its underlying architecture.
Overall, Windows has around 90 percent of the operating system market, and because analysts “guesstimate” that there are hundreds of millions of Windows PCs in this country alone, imagine the numbers if just a fraction of Microsoft’s market share makes the move toward 7.
And even though Microsoft’s profits were down 18 percent for the latest quarter from the year before, that was much better than Wall Street anticipated.
Maybe Microsoft and Windows 7 will help lead the economy out the darkness? Only time will tell.