Windows 7 is brilliant marketing.
Windows Mojave wasn't a marketing campaign for Vista. I believe it was a test. A test to see if the public's perception of Vista was guided purely by pundits and quick witted geeks that weren't up for a little change in their favorite operating system. Once actual end users experienced Vista (Mojave), they actually enjoyed using it. For the record, I believe that Windows Vista is the best Windows yet.
Everyone has heard how bad Vista is, how incompatible, and slow. It doesn't run on your current system without upgrades. But Windows Vista is far and away the best selling operating system.
Microsoft contributed to the poor reception too. There were promises of a new core OS, a new file system, and a lot more. Most of that was left out, but the public's perception was that Microsoft is monolithic, slow, and seemingly incapable of rolling out a new “quality” operating system. Dinosaurs, right?
Maybe. But what they've done by introducing Windows 7 this early is they've moved the focus away from Vista “the failure” to Windows 7, the future. This will give them time to build a new brand around Windows 7. And based on what I've seen in the last few days, it's working.
At CES, Microsoft announced a public beta of Windows 7 to the first 2.5 million users to register. All would receive legal keys to register the software that will expire in August of 2009. The download was to take place on Friday afternoon – just two days after the announcement. What happened on Friday?
Early Friday morning, a link was “leaked” that promised to allow users to download the software before anyone else. I followed the link and was able to register for the key, but shortly there after that all of Microsoft's servers were serving errors. Direct links to download the software (which was good for 30 days without a key) still worked but the key servers were offline.
Today is Saturday, January 10th, and the key servers are online and working. But what did this experience say about the demand for Windows 7? Admittedly, Microsoft horribly underestimated the demand for the download.
Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc had this to say: “We have clearly heard that many of you want to check out the Windows 7 Beta and, as a result, we have decided remove the initial 2.5 million limit on the public beta for the next two weeks (thru January 24th). During that time you will have access to the beta even if the download number exceeds the 2.5 million unit limit.”
Above all else this proves that users, in droves, still believe in Windows. More importantly they believe that Windows 7 will be the start of a new lease on life for the Windows brand. Or, could it be that people just want a free legal copy of Windows 7 because they can get it?
I'm a Mac user, and I love the progress Apple has made in the market. From Mac OS X itself, to the iPod, and iPhone. But I'm not counting Microsoft out of the race by any means. If the change in focus to Windows 7 works, Windows 7 will be able to regain some of the lost confidence in Microsoft. I now legally own four copies of Windows: 1 Windows XP, and 3 Windows Vista. I was able to download two copies of Windows 7, too.
If you haven't downloaded your LEGAL copy of Windows, grab it now. It's free, and won't expire until August: Download Windows 7
What are your thoughts?