Either Microsoft has got it right, or the folks who are playing with the 'beta' version of the new Windows 7 are all in on a big conspiracy with Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates. I have been doing my fair share of research on the newest operating system and the early testers are happy with what really is an upgrade to Windows Vista. Not since Windows Millennium Edition have so many beat up an operating system for the Redmond tech campus. I admit that I hate change, so I have never owned a computer with Vista on it, but I have worked with it and I never saw an overpowering reason to switch. My first taste of Windows XP and I was hooked and had to have it! But Vista …. nah. The knock on Vista has always been it's buggy, and even with upgrades there was never anything that changed that image for most of us. According to survey I recently read, less than ten percent of the people out there actually made the upgrade to Vista. Furthering that was people ordering new computers and insisting on Windows XP long after Vista's 5 release versions. I just checked over at newegg.com and you can still buy a copy of XP Home Edition complete with Service Pack 3 for a smidge under $ 90.
My first sarcastic question was why is Win 7 so good, and yet Microsoft always looks to put out a buggy first edition of its operating systems? Heck, this is still the beta version and it will probably be replaced with another beta before the real deal coming out. And why did Microsoft make the beta of Windows 7 so easy for everyone to get an play with? My belief is competition, something that has been so foreign to Gates and Ballmer in the past is a reality in 2009. The competition from Apple and Linux was not a big deal when Microsoft kept Vista – better known in the pre-release days as " Longhorn "- and it was hard to get your hands on a beta copy. But now things have changed, big-time.
Starting with the 'iPhone' and the 'Ubuntu' version of Linux, Apple and other alternative operating systems are making headway. Shoot, I was in Best Buy the other day and saw they had a Mac display. Wow. The iPhone to the Mac and suddenly there is a competitor than can take market share away from Windows if it does not get a better street image. Ubuntu is over hyped in my opinion. I've seen easier Linux versions to use that will allow the casual computer user to get on the net and not be that different from the interface they have become used to with Windows.
So Microsoft faces a problem that they have not faced in years. Real competition for the home and business computer marketplace. Competition makes you better, and in the case of Windows 7, first reports are better, much better than what we saw with Vista. As long as there are rivals for the 800 pound gorilla of computer desks, we can expect better products from Microsoft. The good news for you and I is that Mac and Linux are getting a good footing and are not likely to disappear from the competition soon.
Let me know what you think.