Updated: Microsoft and Intel tout their collaboration on Windows 7, which will take advantage of Intel's multicore processors. Both companies say Intel technology will make PCs running Windows 7 more efficient with regard to battery life, as well as faster in processes such as booting up. Both Intel and Microsoft have considerable interest in Windows 7 being a success when it rolls out on Oct. 22.
joined with Intel
in a Sept. 1 press conference to claim that Windows 7 will offer better
processor performance and battery life than Windows Vista. Both companies have
a deeply vested interest in the new operating system, due for release on Oct.
22, being a substantial hit among businesses and consumers alike.
The entire conference was keyed to demonstrate how the collaboration between
Microsoft and Intel will result in a speedier Windows 7, with the operating
system taking advantage of processing features such as Intel's
During the presentation in San Francisco,
representatives from both companies did a side-by-side comparison of two
identically configured ThinkPad T400 notebooks running Vista
and Windows 7, with the Windows 7 machine experiencing 20 percent longer
battery life. This boost in efficiency, Microsoft claimed, is due to "timer
coalescing," which increases the average processor idle period in order to
For that battery test, Windows 7 ran on a "Montevina" platform. A hyperthreading demonstration was conducted using the "Lynnfield" version of Core i7, while the companies relied on a "Bloomfield" version of Core i7 for a virtualization demo. Intel's 32-nanometer "Westmere" was later used in an AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) security demonstration. In each case, Windows 7 was shown to operate at speeds up to 11 times those of Vista.
Executives from both companies, though, were quick to caution that
individual device configuration would ultimately decide the degree of
"We're achieving a very significant amount of battery savings,"
Microsoft Principal Program Manager Ruston Panabaker said during the event,
while declining to attach a hard number to Windows 7's overall efficiency
improvement over Vista.
The executives also demonstrated a PC running Windows 7, equipped with a
solid-state drive, booting up within 11 seconds. That boot demonstration relied on Intel's Core i7 for processing power. Again, however, the
specifications of an individual Intel-equipped PC will ultimately govern
features such as boot time, they said.
The show of solidarity by Intel and Microsoft comes at a pivotal moment for
both companies. A Windows-driven tech refresh by small and midsize businesses
and the enterprise would directly benefit Intel, which is perhaps why the
company has spent the summer touting Windows 7 as far superior to Vista.
In July, Intel Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Sean Maloney predicted that
Windows 7 would spread more quickly through the enterprise than Vista,
and said the operating system will bring improved security, power management
and "compatibility mode."
"We think it makes overwhelming sense if you have a 3-year-old PC to
replace the thing, for security violations, virus, power consumption, etc.,
etc., etc.," Maloney
told the Intel Technology Summit on July 29. "Windows 7 is one big
The comments also represented something of a sea change in the relationship
between Intel and Microsoft's operating systems. In 2008, Intel famous refused
to internally deploy Vista, a public-relations fiasco
for Microsoft, which was already wrestling with negative public perception
about the operating system.
At the time of the Intel Technology Summit, an Intel spokesperson confirmed
to eWEEK that the company was already in the process of adopting Windows 7 for
its own internal use.
Despite generally positive buzz surrounding the operating system, the biggest
obstacle to rapid adoption of Windows 7 may be the lingering economic
recession. Although Microsoft has been pushing a series of price cuts and
retailer promotions designed to put copies of the operating system in as many
hands as possible following its Oct. 22 launch, a 1,000-company survey
published by ScriptLogic over the summer showed that about 60
percent of businesses will likely not upgrade to Windows 7 immediately,
with many citing "a lack of time and resources" as the major
However, that same survey suggested that nearly 40 percent of surveyed
businesses will have Windows 7 integrated and running within their IT
infrastructure by the end of 2010. Widespread adoption of the operating system
would help Microsoft
reverse a downward trend in revenues, which dipped 17 percent year over
year in the financial fourth quarter of 2009.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated with information about the Intel processors used during the presentation.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.