Will Businesses Be Buying?

By Joe Wilcox  |  Posted 2009-04-27 Print this article Print


The question: Will businesses be buying? Windows 7 Release Candidate could change the answer for some organizations considering slower deployments. There's a new feature coming, as separate download in beta for Enterprise, Professional and Ultimate versions: Windows XP Mode.

"Windows XP Mode is specifically designed to help small businesses move to Windows 7," Microsoft's Scott Woodgate wrote on the Windows for Your Business blog. "Windows XP Mode provides you with the flexibility to run many older productivity applications on a Windows 7 based PC."

Microsoft has released scant details on Windows XP Mode, or XPM, although two bloggers, Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott, wrote about the feature on April 24. They claim to have had advanced access to XPM.

"All you need to do is to install suitable applications directly in Windows XP Mode which is a virtual Windows XP environment running under Windows Virtual PC," Woodgate wrote on April 24. "The applications will be published to the Windows 7 desktop and then you can run them directly from Windows 7."

The mechanics, but not technology implementation, remind of Mac OS X 10.0. BSD-based Mac OS X is not backward-compatible with Mac OS X 8.x and 9.x applications. Early versions featured "Classic" mode, which essentially launched v9 within OS X. Users could run applications and share files across the two operating environments. Microsoft plans similar mechanics for Windows 7 versions running XPM.

Microsoft's Engineering Windows 7 blog has kept an ongoing tally of changes between Beta 1 and the release candidate. There are plenty.  The E7 blog posts reveal that Microsoft does what it preaches. During Microsoft's MIX08 keynote in March, Bill Buxton, principal researcher for Microsoft Research, emphasized the importance of storyboarding designs. Buxton emphasized the importance of preparation in good design. He told MIX developers to create five concepts before finishing any design. Buxton emphasized the importance of sketching designs, through a process. He described multiples as the "essence of design."

E7 bloggers often show the process of design, including sketches, when explaining how Windows 7 features were developed. From that perspective, the E7 blog posts are meant to be more than just informative about Windows 7 features. They convey design concepts Microsoft used to develop Windows 7.

The real test of the design process will be testers' response to Windows 7 Release Candidate. Meanwhile, Microsoft has other software for enterprises to download and test this week. Office 2007 Service Pack 2 is slated for April 28 release.

Joe Wilcox is editor of Microsoft Watch.



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