Microsoft emphasized locked-in release dates for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and indicated that those consumers purchasing a system with Windows Vista will have the opportunity to upgrade to Windows 7 as part of the original deal. Microsoft is betting that Windows 7 will be the substantial hit it needs to reverse its fortunes in a slumping economy.
announced June 3 that customers purchasing a
system with its Windows Vista operating system will have the ability to upgrade
to Windows 7 when the latter is released on Oct. 22. In addition, Microsoft also announced that Windows Server 2008
R2 will be widely available at the same time as
."There will be a Windows upgrade program available," Steve
Guggenheimer, Microsoft's OEM division corporate vice president, said during a keynote address at Computex 2009 in
Taipei. "Consumers can buy that new PC...and know they'll get Windows 7 as part of
Guggenheimer also indicated that Microsoft is confident of
the release dates for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, stating, "We
announce each milestone once we're confident of where we are in the development
cycle, and that it is ready to be shared with customers and
Microsoft is suggesting that Windows Server 2008 R2 will
support a typical network's ever-increasing ecosystem of devices and virtual
machines. "With the release of Windows Server 2008 R2, companies of all
sizes will get big improvements in virtualization, Web and management,"
Guggenheimer said. "These areas, along with several features that improve
scalability and reliability, help deliver a strong value proposition on the
server side to complement Windows 7." Microsoft announced on June 2 that Windows
7, its latest operating system, would roll out to the general public on Oct.
. Bill Veghte, senior vice president for Microsoft Windows, mentioned in a
June 2 Wall Street Journal article that the company's hardware partners were
planning to "bet heavily" on the new operating system.
Roughly a third of Microsoft's revenue in 2008, or around $20
billion, came from sales of its Windows operating system. However, Microsoft
currently finds itself challenged on two fronts, both by a global recession that
forced it into its first-ever quarterly revenue decline, and by arch-rivals
Apple and Google introducing alternatives into the competitive space. Analysts acknowledge that Microsoft needs a substantial OS
hit after Vista, which rolled out in January 2007, failed to live up to
expectations. In the wake of widely reported issues with that OS, vendors began
exercising downgrade rights to install Windows XP on consumer machines. Early
previews of Windows 7 suggest that many of the compatibility issues encountered
with Vista have been dealt with in the latest version.
Rumors have abounded that Microsoft plans on adapting Windows
7 for mini-notebooks, also known as "netbooks," a potentially important
strategic move considering that the percentage of Windows-equipped netbooks has
jumped from under 10 percent of the market in the first half of 2008 to 96
percent in February 2009. However, Microsoft
also seems determined to install the new operating system on as many traditional
PCs as possible
, most likely because those devices represent higher
margins. Microsoft also finds itself competing in the netbook space
against the increased threat of Google and its Android mobile operating system, which
is being ported onto the devices by Acer - and possibly other manufacturers -
later in 2009
. While Acer will continue to provide Microsoft Windows as an
OS option on its machines, analysts expect that Android will gain strength in
the netbook arena into 2010.