Intel Predicts Microsoft Windows 7 Will See Rapid Adoption

Intel plans to adopt the upcoming Windows 7 operating system, in a public reversal of the high-profile Microsoft corporate client's rejection of Windows Vista in 2008. Intel Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Sean Maloney predicts a relatively rapid spread of Windows 7 through the enterprise and a possible tech refresh by companies that had previously refrained from updating their IT infrastructure due to the economy. Maloney also suggests that netbooks may not appeal to first-time PC buyers.

Sean Maloney, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer for Intel, said at the Intel Technology Summit at July 29 that he thought business adoption of Windows 7 would go "faster" than it did for Windows Vista, which he cited as having service update and compatibility issues.

Maloney pointed to Windows 7's security, power management and "compatibility mode" as reasons for deploying the new operating system within a business client. "A lot of good reasons," he added.

Maloney suggested that C-suite executives of small and midsize businesses as well as enterprises might engage in a tech refresh to coincide with Windows 7, a result that would boost Microsoft's sales.

"We think it makes overwhelming sense if you have a 3-year-old PC to replace the thing, for security violations, virus, power consumption, etc., etc., etc.," Maloney said. "And Windows 7 is one big positive."

After the carefully engineered marketing campaign laying ground for the upcoming Oct. 22 release of Windows 7, it would have been something of a public-relations blow if Intel had come out with negative comments about the new operating system. In 2008, Intel's refusal to internally deploy Vista was seen as a major fiasco for Microsoft, which has wrestled with negative perceptions surrounding that operating system since its retail launch in January 2007.

According to an Intel spokesperson contacted by eWEEK, Intel indeed plans to adopt Windows 7 on an expedited basis for its employees' use.

Maloney also suggested that the market for cheap mininotebooks or netbooks, which have been one bright spot for a PC-manufacturing industry otherwise faced by drooping sales, has reached maturity, and comes with an Achilles' heel.

"I don't think first-time buyers are going to buy netbooks," Maloney said to media at the Summit, according to Reuters. "The first time you buy something you want the real deal. It's consistent not just in China, but all around the world ... If you're going to spend your hard-earned money for the first time, you're going to put a computer in your house."

Although Microsoft plans to offer a version of Windows 7 for netbooks, the margins for the stripped-down version of the operating system will be lower than for the full versions installed on higher-end systems. As sales for higher-end PCs decline and netbooks rise, Microsoft potentially finds itself facing lower revenues; therefore, any sign that consumers will gravitate towards full PCs would be welcome to Redmond.