10 Ways Microsoft Can Persuade Enterprises to Buy Windows 7

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-10-20 Print this article Print

News Analysis: Microsoft is gearing up for the release of Windows 7, but it needs to find a way to get corporate customers on board. With the world struggling to overcome a prolonged recession and with many potential customers having fresh memories of Vista, it won't be easy. However, with many companies limping along with aging PCs and Windows XP, Microsoft can present a number of convincing arguments that the time is right to invest in new machines with Windows 7.

As Microsoft prepares for the release of Windows 7 in just two short days, the company needs to find a way to entice customers to buy it. Consumers might be the easiest prey, since a move to Windows would guarantee a switch to Windows 7. At this point, Windows Vista isn't viable and Windows XP is too old. It's an obvious choice.

But the enterprise is a much different story. On that front, the buyers are far less willing to switch to a new operating system for the sake of switching. Those customers want assurance that Windows 7 will provide the experience and productivity they require. For those companies, having that mindset limits bad decisions. For Microsoft, that mindset ensures that it will need to do much more to woo those customers.

Doing so will be difficult. But it won't be impossible.

This is what Microsoft needs to do:

1. Admit Defeat

First and foremost, Microsoft needs to admit its mistakes with Windows Vista. The vast majority of companies decided against switching to Microsoft's last operating system because it failed to provide them with the experience they expected. And in the process, it caused many of them to stick with Windows XP. Microsoft needs to acknowledge its mistakes and reassure companies that it hasn't committed them again with Windows 7.

2. Show the Differences

Following that, Microsoft should highlight all the features that make Windows 7 an improved operating system. The company should show companies what the issues were with Windows Vista and how they were addressed in Windows 7. That should help allay some fears in the enterprise.

3. Security

Although Windows 7 isn't a totally secure operating system (there's no such thing, after all), Microsoft should point out that it's more secure than its predecessors. It should also provide some real data to back up that claim. Right now, many companies are still using Windows XP, and Windows Vista isn't a viable alternative. If Microsoft can prove Windows 7 is more secure than XP, Microsoft will be well on its way to attracting corporate customers.

4. Windows XP Mode

If I had to pick a single feature that could cause corporations to move to Windows 7, it's Windows XP mode. That feature allows users to run a virtual installation of Windows XP in the Windows 7 environment. For companies, it means that all the compatibility issues that plagued Windows Vista will most likely not be a problem in Windows 7. According to Microsoft, any legacy software or hardware that worked with Windows XP will work in XP mode. Not bad. 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, 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 http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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