Microsofts Windows 7 operating system has been an outright success story for the software giant. Windows 7 launched after Windows Vista failed miserably in the marketplace. Businesses and individuals kept using Windows XP for a number of years after Microsoft assumed they would upgrade to some later version of Windows. As a result, the future of Microsofts desktop operating system business was in doubt.
Although Microsoft believed that Windows 7 would make users forget about the Vista debacle, not everyone was so sure it could right the ship. Now, its clear that Windows 7 has been able to do just that. In fact, Microsoft recently announced that 600 million licenses have been sold worldwide since the operating systems launch.
However, some wonder if the fun might soon be over for Windows 7. After all, the operating system is running on a boatload of computers, and with Windows 8 launching in the next few months, itll soon be obsolete next to the latest software. Surely, that means that Windows 7 will retreat into the pantheon of former Windows greats, right?
1. Think about enterprise deployment
The enterprise could very well be the main reason Windows 7 will thrive through 2013. After all, the corporate world typically spends a long time before deploying a new operating system. Generally enterprises follow their own product adoption roadmaps, not Microsofts, based on need and corporate finances. Enterprise deployment will be central to Windows 7s success over the coming years.
2. Theres little time for Windows 8 to change things
The only thing that could really cause Windows 7 to die out quickly is the possibility of Windows 8 dramatically changing the operating system landscape with its new design and features. However, the chances of that seem slim. So, Windows 7 and its older, but reliable design, should hold up quite well over the next 18 months.
3. Tablets will be a big question mark
The key tarket market for Microsoft and its Windows 8 platform is assumed to be tablets. If the software giant can find a way to make its operating system popular on tablets, itll be far more difficult for Windows 7 to keep up. If, however, Windows 8 cant make any headway on tablets, Windows 7 will have far longer than even 2013 to stay on store shelves and succeed.
4. Its what consumers know
Its important for everyone to realize that consumers tend to stick with what they know in the computing space. With that in mind there should be no question that Windows 7 will remain widely popular for at least the next 18 months. Windows 8 is a dramatic departure from the desktop operating systems that have been released so far and that could be a liability for the new OS in the coming months.
Old Operating Systems Fade Away Slowly
5. Vendors will need to empty their inventory
Once Windows 8 launches, companies like HP, Dell, Acer, and others will have millions of PCs in the pipeline that are pre-loaded with Windows 7. It will take time to push those through the market even as they look to ramp up Windows 8 sales. Furthermore, just like with Windows XP, PC makers will follow customer demand. If buyers keep asking for Windows 7, PC makers will keep selling it. This factor helped past operating systems stay afloat. Why wouldnt it help this time around?
6. Listen to Microsoft
Microsoft is by no means saying that just because Windows 8 is launching this year, Windows 7 will die off. Quite the contrary, the company believes that it will sell 350 million Windows 7 licenses in 2012, alone, and could see similarly strong sales next year. If Microsoft doesnt think Windows 7 will quickly fade away, no one else should.
7. Let history be ones guide
The best way to handicap chances for success for Windows 7 is to look at the past. And over the last several years, there hasnt been a single popular version of Windows that has been tossed out so quickly. Even Windows Vista performed well for some time after it was replaced. Windows 7 is one of Microsofts most popular operating systems of all time. Itll follow the patterns set forth by its predecessors.
8. It was built for longevity
When Microsoft was building Windows 7, the operating system was designed solely for longevity. The company knew that it made a mistake with the last version of the OS and it wanted to make it right with the new version. In order to do that, it had to make sure it could last a good 10 years the way XP had. Guess what? Microsoft succeeded.
9. Remember pricing
As noted, PC makers will try to clear their inventory of Windows 7-based devices as quickly as possible. The best way to do that is to cut the price of Windows 7 models to move them out fast. Windows 8 computers, meanwhile, will likely be far more expensive. This is another good reason not to count out Windows 7.
10. Software is always a consideration
The biggest issue with adopting any new operating system is users concern that their most important applications wont work, or at least wont work reliably, on the new operating system. Microsoft has made great strides in ensuring third-party legacy software works with its platform. But it still cant control all of those enterprises that need to update specialized and custom applications with the new platform. Expect the software lag to help Windows 7 for the short–term.