While Microsoft has been pushing out its earning figures the last week not much has been said about what Vista’s overall role in those earning where. That’s probably because Ballmer, Ozzie and crew are hoping that Windows 7 won’t throw them a curve ball and will hit the shelves in time for Christmas of ’09 which will mean they can finally say goodbye to the curse called Vista.
I will admit that when Vista first started circulating as an advance beta for folks to play with I was right in there because I was intrigued by what was suppose to be the next best thing to sliced bread. Needless to say over the time that Vista has been around that bread has grown stale and mouldy.
Then this last year we started to hear rumours of some serious work being done on the next version of Windows but absolutely next to nothing was coming out of Redmond. This was totally unlike the wow experience with Vista where every time we turned around we were hearing all kinds of cool stuff was being done and about how open they were about the Windows progress. The next version of Windows might have well been behind the doors of Cheyenne Mountain and five layers deep of razor wire for all we were getting from Redmond.
The best we got was the work being done around Windows Live and the services and applications that were a part of that product group but that was all web stuff .. but not exactly as it turns out. There was the web side of it but there was also the desktop application versions that were starting to be released as a package of free software. That has now been solidified into the Windows Live Essentials Suite and this package was made up of
- Windows Live Messenger
- Windows Live Mail
- Windows Live Photo Gallery
- Windows Live Movie Maker
- Windows Live Family Safety Filter
- … more to be added
I’ll be taking a closer look at a few of the Live Services programs tomorrow because today I want to talk about what is finally headed our way – Windows 7. While Microsoft is still firmly positioned behind the idea of an early 2010 release of a finished product I’m still suggesting as I have in the past that we will have it in our grimey little paws no later than Christmas of 2009. Mary Jo Foley has being saying this as well right up to her post today on the corporate version of Win7
Microsoft still isn’t changing official guidance on when Windows 7 will ship. The official date is three years from general availability of Vista, meaning early 2010. I still believe that’s a worst-case date and we’ll see Windows 7 by the second half of 2009.
The thing is as much as Microsoft won’t say in public just how much of a turd that Vista was in many ways from what they are showing of the UI in Windows 7 the Vista look is still there but greatly refined. While I had been hoping for a much more modular approach to this version the word is that even at this point Windows 7 is stinking fast as Ed Bott said in a post reviewing the new Windows 7 bits
This loaner machine certainly doesn’t feel like it’s running pre-beta code. It’s wicked fast and eerily quiet thanks to a solid state drive. In a very long day’s worth of use it has yet to crash or display any of the flaky behavior you might expect from a beta.
In my opinion they will really need to keep this aspect of Windows 7 under a sharp microscope because there is a rabidly growing netbook market and vendors are not even attempting to install Vista on them; instead they are going with XP. So if Microsoft wants Windows to stay anywhere near current they have to target the netbooks as their optimum platform. Which means for the rest of us we could really see a lean and very mean version of Windows on the desktop.
The one other big bug-a-boo that a great number of people have always had with Windows is the number of applications that they made a required part of the OS. Well this is where the Windows Live Essentials Suite comes in as it is all those most irritating programs that people complained the most about. The one’s like Windows Media Player, Messenger and several others. Well as of Windows 7 it looks like those will be totally optional as you aren’t required to install any or all of them. You don’t like Messenger and always hated how it was sitting there as part of the install – well no more if what I am reading is correct.
While Live Services and Mesh along with the rest of their cloud initiative is important and helps enrich your computing experience using Windows it looks like it’s not going to be the same kind of albatross around the users neck like the way Microsoft use to do things. This is good for the users that is for sure and hopefully as windows moves forward we’ll see more of this separation of applications from the base operating system and more choice in what we want to install.
It’s still going to be awhile before we even have a beta version to risk our machines on but this time with the combination of things like Live Serices and Mesh I am actually looking forward to a version of Windows … maybe even a little excited (but don’t tell anyone).