Microsoft's Windows 7 Tried to Vanquish Vista Memories in 2009
Microsoft's 2009 was largely dominated by the ramp-up to the release of Windows 7, its desktop operating system and its biggest launch of the year. In this first part of a three-part series, eWEEK traces Windows 7 from the announcement of the beta release at CES 2009 to its Oct. 22 launch and aftermath. With a lot riding on the operating system's acceptance by both consumers and the enterprise, Microsoft engaged in an aggressive marketing and outreach campaign that seemed to pay off with rapid early sales and adoption, although the ultimate success of Windows 7 is indeterminate until 2010 and beyond.Microsoft's 2009 was a pivotal year for the company, to say the least. The economic recession that gripped much of the tech industry did not spare Redmond, which was forced to report a 17 percent decline in year-over-year revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009. Earnings came in at $13.10 billion, around $1 billion below Wall Street estimates. Much of that decline in revenue could be tied to sluggish PC sales, which in turn lowered demand for Microsoft's products.
In response, Microsoft cut many of its legacy programs, including Encarta, and embraced a corporate strategy of pushing the new versions of its flagship software, including Windows 7.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that Windows 7 had entered beta during CES 2009 in January. By throwing the beta version into the wild, Microsoft subsequently told eWEEK and a number of other tech publications, the company hoped that it could solicit a groundswell of feedback that would allow it to fix any issues with the operating system ahead of its October release. Microsoft has subsequently followed a similar beta strategy with a number of other upcoming products, including Office 2010.
The lack of a linear upgrade path between Windows XP and Windows 7, a point of potential stickiness for businesses that choose to upgrade, was something that Microsoft attempted to address on its Website with step-by-step instructions for making the transition. In theory, a clear upgrade path exists for Vista and Windows 7.