Windows 7 heading for the gate, Vista exiting stage left

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).

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17 Comments

  1. 28/10/08 at 23:56

    Do you think we'll see a huge number of people going out and buying boxed sets of Windows 7? I think we will… few people did for Vista but that was because we knew it would run slow on our existing computers… since then everyone who has bought a new computer with Vista installed, or even with XP knows WIndows 7 will run a lot faster than what they currently have.

    I plan to buy it, do you? =P

  2. 28/10/08 at 23:56

    Do you think we'll see a huge number of people going out and buying boxed sets of Windows 7? I think we will… few people did for Vista but that was because we knew it would run slow on our existing computers… since then everyone who has bought a new computer with Vista installed, or even with XP knows WIndows 7 will run a lot faster than what they currently have.

    I plan to buy it, do you? =P

  3. joemontana
    29/10/08 at 9:25

    Why is this written as though Windows 7 is on the horizon, it's still vaporware as far as I can tell. Christmas 09 is a year away, but even notwithstanding that, when has MS ***ever*** been on time or early to market with a product?

  4. joemontana
    29/10/08 at 9:25

    Why is this written as though Windows 7 is on the horizon, it's still vaporware as far as I can tell. Christmas 09 is a year away, but even notwithstanding that, when has MS ***ever*** been on time or early to market with a product?

  5. joemontana
    29/10/08 at 9:27

    Interesting adondai, you say that you plan to buy it knowing almost nothing about what the final product will look like? Remember all the promise that Vista showed long before it was released, things like a new file system, etc…

  6. joemontana
    29/10/08 at 9:27

    Interesting adondai, you say that you plan to buy it knowing almost nothing about what the final product will look like? Remember all the promise that Vista showed long before it was released, things like a new file system, etc…

  7. 29/10/08 at 9:58

    With a lot less reluctance than with Vista that is for sure

  8. 29/10/08 at 9:58

    With a lot less reluctance than with Vista that is for sure

  9. 29/10/08 at 10:02

    This past week has been the big reveal week for Microsoft and quite a lot about Win7 has come out in just that last two days that we didn't know until now. As the developers begin working against their early betas we will begin hearing even more. For those of us who follow the early stages of tech (maybe more than we should) we sometimes but too much stock in these early clues – and get bitten bad as result (witness Vista) – but that said what has been talked about so far shows a much improved baseline for a Windows OS than what we heard about with Vista.

  10. 29/10/08 at 10:02

    This past week has been the big reveal week for Microsoft and quite a lot about Win7 has come out in just that last two days that we didn't know until now. As the developers begin working against their early betas we will begin hearing even more. For those of us who follow the early stages of tech (maybe more than we should) we sometimes but too much stock in these early clues – and get bitten bad as result (witness Vista) – but that said what has been talked about so far shows a much improved baseline for a Windows OS than what we heard about with Vista.

  11. 29/10/08 at 10:09

    The thing is Joe for those of us who are what is referred to as the “early adopter” crew this type of discussion is more than common :) As for MS being on time I would suggest given the people in charge and the way they are handling the distribution of information about Win7 my bets are on MS being on time. You have to remember that Sinofsky headed up the Office team before taking over the Windows platform and if there was one thing that Office always did was meet its shipping deadlines. As for the way the post was written again I point to the early adopter attitude and the fact that a year before the shelves actually see the product is nothing. Given that the developers already have a copy in there hands chances are we will see a CTP sometime by January – if not late December. A year between CTP and RTM would make perfect sense.

  12. 29/10/08 at 10:09

    The thing is Joe for those of us who are what is referred to as the “early adopter” crew this type of discussion is more than common :) As for MS being on time I would suggest given the people in charge and the way they are handling the distribution of information about Win7 my bets are on MS being on time. You have to remember that Sinofsky headed up the Office team before taking over the Windows platform and if there was one thing that Office always did was meet its shipping deadlines. As for the way the post was written again I point to the early adopter attitude and the fact that a year before the shelves actually see the product is nothing. Given that the developers already have a copy in there hands chances are we will see a CTP sometime by January – if not late December. A year between CTP and RTM would make perfect sense.

  13. joemontana
    29/10/08 at 11:09

    thanks for the clarification Steven. I guess I'd be pleasantly surprised if Windows 7 comes out on time.:-)

  14. joemontana
    29/10/08 at 11:09

    thanks for the clarification Steven. I guess I'd be pleasantly surprised if Windows 7 comes out on time.:-)

  15. 29/10/08 at 19:51

    Interesting that you seem to know less about it than you think you do.

    Firstly most of the major technologies promised for Longhorn did actually make it into Vista, albiet in different forms than initially announced and a lot less flashy… there are actually a lot of good reasons why the WinFS filesystem for example was abandoned and instead the Windows indexing technology was used, other capabilities of WinFS have gone into SQL etc… developers haven't adopted the capabilities of the Windows indexing technology but that doesn' mean it's as capable as WinFS was ever planned to be.

    Secondly if you've been following the Engineering Seven blog by Steven Sinofsky you'll know the managment of Windows development has changed dramatically since he came on board and now the Windows build is treated like a finished product that could ship at any time… only totally complete features and shipping quality code is submitted to the build.

    Finally Sinofskys philosophy which he reinterated time and time again is 'under-promise, over deliver'… everything you've seen demonstrated about Windows 7 is what you will get.

  16. 29/10/08 at 19:51

    Interesting that you seem to know less about it than you think you do.

    Firstly most of the major technologies promised for Longhorn did actually make it into Vista, albiet in different forms than initially announced and a lot less flashy… there are actually a lot of good reasons why the WinFS filesystem for example was abandoned and instead the Windows indexing technology was used, other capabilities of WinFS have gone into SQL etc… developers haven't adopted the capabilities of the Windows indexing technology but that doesn' mean it's as capable as WinFS was ever planned to be.

    Secondly if you've been following the Engineering Seven blog by Steven Sinofsky you'll know the managment of Windows development has changed dramatically since he came on board and now the Windows build is treated like a finished product that could ship at any time… only totally complete features and shipping quality code is submitted to the build.

    Finally Sinofskys philosophy which he reinterated time and time again is 'under-promise, over deliver'… everything you've seen demonstrated about Windows 7 is what you will get.

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