Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wrote on Sept. 29 that not only is Windows 7 an outstanding operating system that both consumers and the enterprise should want, but it’s the best Windows operating system ever developed. It’s so good, in fact, that Ballmer called Windows the “new normal.”
Those are some lofty statements from the Microsoft chief. But they shouldn’t be taken lightly. On the contrary, there is a possibility that Windows 7 will become the greatest operating system Microsoft has ever released. And if that happens, it’s entirely possible that the entire scope of the tech industry could change.
1. Enterpriseorder would be restored.
One of the biggest fears Microsoft has is that Windows 7 will be received the way Windows Vista was by the enterprise. After trying Vista out, many companies decided against switching to the new operating system for fear that it would cause more trouble than good. For that reason, there are still quite a few companies using outdated equipment running Windows XP in the hopes that Windows 7 will be different. If Windows 7 is as good as Ballmer says, Microsoft could reclaim enterprise confidence and solidify its success in the corporate world for the foreseeable future.
2. Apple might have trouble.
Following that, it’s entirely possible that Apple, which was picking up some share from Windows’ problems, could see its growth stymied. If Windows 7 is as good as Ballmer says, then not only companies but consumers will be choosing the operating system far more often. And in the process Apple’s market share would decline somewhat as those who need a computer try out the new and improved Windows.
3. Microsoft could gain some online leverage.
Although it might seem like Windows 7 doesn’t have any applicability to Microsoft’s battle with Google online, I believe that it does. If Windows 7 is popular and appreciated for providing a more robust, secure experience, I don’t think it will hurt Microsoft in its fight against Google one bit. In fact, I think it might help the software giant. With a better Windows operating system, Microsoft might be able to regain some of its customers’ lost trust. Those users who were suspicious of Microsoft and Windows might have a change of heart and support more Microsoft products online. It’s the halo effect. And it’s powerful.
4. Google’s Chrome OS might be hurt.
If Windows 7 is successful, it could have a serious impact on Google’s Chrome OS. At this point, that operating system is designed solely for netbooks, but part of its appeal is that it isn’t Windows. If Windows 7 is highly valued in the market, it’s entirely possible that the number of people who are willing to move to Chrome OS will be lower. That would especially be true in the enterprise.
5. Microsoft could regain leverage over vendors.
With a successful Windows 7, Microsoft would be able to regain some of its lost leverage with PC vendors. In the last OS cycle, PC vendors were offering “downgrade rights,” allowing consumers to opt for XP in their computers rather than Vista. It was a response to problems vendors were having selling Vista PCs. With a popular Windows 7, Microsoft can regain its position as the powerful force among vendors. And in the process, it could help Microsoft wield the power it enjoyed during the height of its XP days.
Goodbye, XP and Vista; Hello, Success
6. Windows XP will officially retire.
Although it might be the elder statesman in the OS market, XP is far from retired. In fact, it’s still going strong. But a popular Windows 7 that easily bests previous installments of the operating system will change that. Companies using XP will finally jump to Windows 7. And the only place where XP will live on is in Windows 7’s virtual XP mode.
7. Windows Vista will be forgotten.
Microsoft is running from Vista with Windows 7. It doesn’t want to remind consumers or corporate customers about the issue that its latest operating system had become. If Windows 7 is as successful as Ballmer expects it to be, Microsoft can erase that part of its history. Users who were dubious about Windows 7 will be converts when they use it. And all the issues they remember about Vista will be put behind them.
8. Windows Mobile 7 will get a head start.
Whether Windows Mobile 7 will provide an iPhone-like experience is unknown. But with the help of a viable Windows 7, Windows Mobile 7 might enjoy more success than it would without it. Users who could see a major difference between Windows 7 and its predecessor will be hopeful that the same will be true with Windows Mobile 7. If it happens, it could be even better for Microsoft.
9. Microsoft can take on Apple’s marketing efforts.
One of the biggest issues Microsoft has faced over the past couple years is that it can’t really combat any of Apple’s ads. The “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” spots have been so successful that Apple has been able to wrest some users from the software giant. With a popular and successful Windows 7, Microsoft can take it to Apple, put Steve Jobs on his heels and maybe pull some users from Mac OS X.
10. Microsoft will regain some respect.
Part of the reason why Steve Ballmer believes Windows 7 will be so successful is its ability to block malicious attacks. According to Ballmer, it’s the most secure OS his company has ever released. Although that’s as much an indictment of the past as it is an endorsement for the future, if true, Microsoft can finally confront all those critics who say its operating system is insecure and thus not viable. It gives Microsoft more respect in the space. And, perhaps most importantly, it ensures that in the future Microsoft won’t need to bear the greatest burden when it comes to security concerns.
And that might just be its biggest advantage.