Microsoft Windows 7s Successful First Year: 10 Lessons Learned

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Microsoft Windows 7s Successful First Year: 10 Lessons Learned

by Don Reisinger

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Security Matters More Than Anything

Microsoft has been battling malicious hackers for years. Nowhere was that more evident than on Windows Vista, which has been widely panned by critics that said the operating system failed to adequately protect its users. That was eventually addressed in subsequent security packs. But the damage was done. With Windows 7, Microsoft had to rectify that problem. Luckily for the company, it did just that. Its Windows 7 sales prove that thanks to its better security, Microsofts operating system can be successful again.

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Apple Really Understands OS Design

Apple has proven time and again that it understands design. But the company also knows what consumers want in an operating system. With Windows 7, Microsoft seemed to realize that. In fact, its operating system mimics the look and feel of Mac OS X in several ways. Exactly how much that contributed to the operating systems success is anyones guess, but it definitely helped out.

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Even Abject Failures Can Be Overcome

Windows Vista was a downright failure. A lesser company would have had trouble overcoming such issues. But Microsoft eventually accepted that it made a mistake and set out to fix it with a solid Windows 7. In the process, the company proved that even its worst errors can be overcome with a clear understanding of what its customers really want.

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The Enterprise Is Still Difficult to Understand

As successful as Windows 7 has been, it has still been difficult for Microsoft to get its operating system into the corporate world. For its part, Microsoft has learned that the simple act of offering a new operating system isnt enough to attract enterprise customers these days. But it needs to find a solution sooner rather than later if it wants to keep Windows 7s momentum going.

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Windows XP Still Has Clout

Microsoft also has learned the hard way that Windows XP is still extremely important. The enterprise is still heavily invested in XP. Over the past year, some vendors were still offering customers the opportunity to buy computers with Microsofts old operating system. Thats obviously not something that Microsoft likes to see. But it needs to accept that and start finding new ways to make Windows 7 the more viable option.

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Keep the Vendors Happy

HP and Dell proved to be major issues for Microsoft when it was selling Windows Vista. The companies offered consumers "downgrade rights," which allowed them to install Windows XP, instead of Windows Vista, in a computer before it shipped. With Windows 7, Dell and HP are firmly on-board with Microsoft. Thats due in main part to the software giants desire to play nice with vendors. Over the past year Microsoft learned that vendors really do have some clout.

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Apple Can't Catch Up

In a single year, Microsoft has sold 240 million licenses to customers around the world. And that was after the company was forced to weather the failure of Windows Vista. If Apple couldnt capitalize on that, its hard to see how the company could ever capitalize on Microsofts issues. Yes, it has captured a bit more market share, but it will never catch up to Windows. Todays market share figures have proven that.

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The Future Is on the Desktop

Some debate has arisen over whether the future of the operating system is on the desktop or in the cloud. Although it might eventually be online, Microsofts success with Windows 7 has proven that for the foreseeable future, the desktop operating systems will reign supreme. Thats certainly good news for Microsoft and its Windows platform.

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Google Will Have to Do Serious Work

Since Microsoft has learned that the future of the operating system will still reside on the desktop, it has also come to realize that Google will have a long way to go if the search giant will be able to catch up to Windows. The companys Chrome OS is scheduled to take on Windows in the netbook space first, and then on other products in the future. But Windows has a huge installed base. Windows 7 will enable Microsoft to maintain this lead. That should only make it more difficult for Google to overcome Microsoft in the OS space.

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Ballmer Can Coast on Windows

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has been taken to task by critics that say the executive has not done enough to improve Microsofts standing in the tech space. That might be true. But with the help of Windows 7, Ballmer can coast. Windows provides the profit cushion he needs to explore ways to improve his companys operations elsewhere. However, Ballmer will eventually need to come up with something innovative to stop the challenges from Google and Apple that Microsoft continues to face.

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