Microsoft extends its Windows 7 Enterprise Trial program until the end of 2010, allowing IT professionals a 90-day trial of Windows 7 Enterprise Edition. While Microsoft says the extension is due to popular demand, recent statements by the company suggest that Windows 7 is not being adopted by businesses in the same way as by consumers. Altogether, Microsoft says, it has sold 90 million copies of Windows 7 since the operating system launched in October 2009.
Microsoft has extended its Windows 7 Enterprise Trial program to Dec. 31, 2010. While an
official blog post says the extension was "due to popular demand,"
recent executive comments suggest that Windows 7 is experiencing slowed uptake among
enterprises and small and midsize businesses.
The 90-day trial edition of Windows 7 Enterprise is offered in both 32- and
64-bit versions, and was originally released to assist IT administrators in
testing applications, hardware and deployment strategies ahead of the operating
system's October 2009 release. At
the time the trial was initiated,
in September 2009, Microsoft said it
would issue "a limited number of licenses" available only "while
At the time, Microsoft spokespeople declined to state the exact number of
those licenses, which has evidently now been expanded.
"The Enterprise trial is
designed specifically for IT professionals, so that you can test your software
and hardware on a final version of the product," Stephen Rose, worldwide
community manager for Windows 7, explained
on The Windows Blog.
"In addition, it provides the opportunity for you
to become more familiar with the key improvements over previous versions of the
Windows operating system, and experience firsthand how Windows 7 can make your
PC environment more productive, secure and manageable."
Those who install the trial edition will have 10 days to activate the
product; once the 90-day testing period has passed, the operating system will
begin to shut down every hour. Those who wish to continue using Windows 7
Enterprise after that point will need to perform a clean installation of the
While Microsoft claims that Windows 7 has sold 90 million licenses since its
release, reports indicate that some potential markets for the operating system
are soft, particularly businesses.
While tech spending by SMBs and enterprises has shown "green
shoots" following the deep freeze of a global recession, a full-fledged
revival-and accompanying Windows 7 purchases by businesses-may take some time,
according to recent comments from Microsoft executives.
"There will be an enterprise refresh cycle," Microsoft Chief
Financial Officer Peter Klein told
a Morgan Stanley investor conference
March 2. "It's not precisely
certain when that will happen or how fast that will happen, but we expect it to
happen this calendar year and go into next calendar year, and that will be a
really good catalyst for growth for our PC business."
During a Jan. 28 earnings call, Bill Koefoed, Microsoft's general manager of
investor relations, said "weak business PC sales" were hampering the
company's enterprise software sales, and despite "strong consumer demand
for Windows 7 and PCs ... conditions from last quarter remain unchanged"
for many businesses reluctant to spend.
During the same call, Klein noted, "We
have not seen a return to enterprise software growth."
A recent report from Forrester Research indicated that, while 86 percent of
surveyed Windows 7 users said they were satisfied with the operating system, 10
percent of Windows XP and Windows Vista users said they planned an upgrade to
within the next six months. However, unlike previous versions of
Windows, users were apparently more inclined to upgrade without purchasing a
new computer, an indicator that Forrester suggested was due to Windows 7's more
streamlined hardware requirements and ability to run on older machines.
Analytics company Net Applications found in a January study that Windows 7
averaged a 7.57 percent share of the U.S.
operating system market, compared with 66.15 percent for XP, 17.47 percent for Vista,
2.37 percent for Mac OS X, 1.80 percent for Mac OS X 10.6 and 1.02 percent for