Switching to a new operating system is a daunting task for IT managers. They need to examine the operating system to determine if it will work with existing software. They need to know what kind of hardware requirements it has. They must determine which products around the office can be maintained.
At the same time, they need to figure out if the new operating system will add to the company's operation or detract from it. It's that last element that can be extremely difficult without buying all the necessary products first. Simply put, it's a gamble.
But Microsoft is taking the gamble out of the equation by allowing companies to download Windows 7 Enterprise edition prior to its commercial release. They can install the software on multiple "test" computers around the office to determine how reliable it is. They can see how employees interact with the software to determine the amount of training they will need to increase productivity.
They should also be able to figure out if there are some computers around the office that can be salvaged before they refresh the entire company's computers. As a result the free trial of Windows 7 will enable IT managers to eliminate the guesswork that has become such a dangerous part of their jobs.
At this point, there's really no good reason for a company not to take Microsoft's offer and try Windows 7. What do they have to lose? If they don't like Windows 7, they can uninstall it and go back to XP (or Vista). If they like it, they know that it will be an ideal replacement for the current operating system they're using.
On Microsoft's side, it's an extremely savvy move. The company knows that the enterprise is gun shy when it comes to Windows. By making a free version of its software available, it can prove to those companies that Windows 7 really is a fine operating system.
Simply put, Microsoft's free Windows 7 trial is a victory for both Microsoft and the enterprise.