Winning Over Vendors, Enterprise Users

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-03-04 Print this article Print

5. It worked with vendors

When Vista was on store shelves, major vendors, including Dell and Hewlett-Packard, offered downgrade rights to customers who opted for XP rather than the new OS. For a while, there was a cold war of sorts between Microsoft and vendors. With Windows 7, Microsoft repaired those strained relationships. The company worked with vendors to ensure that their needs were met and reassured companies that Windows 7 wouldn't repeat Vista's mistakes. For the first time in a while, Microsoft recognized the importance of major vendors.

6. Mac OS X's influence

A main reason why Windows 7 is so successful today is Mac OS X. Although Microsoft probably wouldn't admit it, some of the company's inspiration came from Apple's operating system. Some of the graphics are similar. The new taskbar reflects the functionality of Mac OS X's Dock. Some have criticized Microsoft for that, but in the end, it was a smart move. Mac OS X is well-liked. Why not consider it when designing a new OS?

7. Windows XP Mode

Windows XP Mode is extremely important to the success of Windows 7. One of the main problems enterprise customers had with Vista was incompatibility. More often than not, company programs and peripherals didn't work with the software. That severely damaged Vista sales. In an attempt to address that issue, Microsoft came up with Windows 7's Windows XP Mode. It worked. Right now practically any software package or peripheral dating back a decade works with Windows 7. That alone might be enough to convince some companies to deploy it within their operations.

8. The improved taskbar

Windows 7's improved taskbar can't be underestimated. The new feature makes it extremely easy for users to find programs and get to the desired window as quickly as possible. At first, it was criticized by Windows users who wanted the "old" Windows style. But after they started using the taskbar, they saw what all the fuss was about. Windows 7's taskbar makes Mac OS X's Dock look ancient. And it's a major selling point for Windows users.

9. Security mattered

For years, Microsoft has been forced to deal with security issues. The company has even made improvements from time to time. But when Vista hit store shelves, it was as if the company forgot about security for a time. And users noticed. Microsoft remembered the importance of security again with Windows 7. The new operating system includes Microsoft's Security Essentials suite, improved menus to make it easier for users to find all security-related features and new encryption tools to help consumers and the enterprise preserve sensitive information. Windows 7 certainly isn't perfect, but it's a big step up from Vista.

10. The marketing was spot-on

Microsoft has been criticized in the past for delivering suspect advertising campaigns. But for the most part, the way it marketed Windows 7 was outstanding. The company clearly defined what Windows 7 is all about. Microsoft used some of Apple's marketing against it. And Microsoft effectively communicated to customers why they would want to use a Windows 7 PC over any other. We can't discount the importance of marketing. For once, Microsoft did it right. And the sales figures reflect that.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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