Release Windows 7, Summer of 2009
When I first read that the next release of Windows 7 was going to be a “release candidate” my reaction was to shout obscenities at my computer screen. I’ve been part of many Window beta tests in the past but Microsoft really seems to be rushing the release of the newest Windows. I really want Windows 7 to be a success and the thought of a quick beta cycle scares me.
After reading more including Ed Bott’s “Who Needs Another Windows 7 beta”, I have reversed my opinion. I don’t agree completely with everything Ed says but he got me thinking.
Right now Windows 7 has momentum. The press and bloggers so far on Win7 has been extremely positive. The performance provided by Windows 7 has been surprising. The longer a beta the higher the expectations and some of the current excitement will fade.
Interruption of Imagination
Every new beta release is a distraction to developers. The time it takes to create a frozen version takes away from a developers imagination and productivity. I’ve worked at Microsoft and I accomplished a lot more when I was sitting in my office all day then I did sitting in meetings or running focus groups. The internal testing required before any public beta is a lot longer than you might think.
Most Beta Testers Suck
As a developer I can tell you , beta tests aren’t what they used to be. The number of people who actually report decent bug information is minimal. Most people download the beta just to be an earlier adopter. Developers are lucky if users read the release notes and compatibility list let alone any beta instructions. There are so many different machine configurations that sadly the only way to find some bugs is to have full global adoption of new software.
Just use Auto Updates
Anyone who reads Bits From Bill knows I think AutoUpdates are evil. Unfortunately, they’ve become a fact of life. Microsoft has determined Auto Updates are part of the equation and has perfected the procedure as much as technically possible.
Compatibility Already Exists
While there are plenty of new features in Windows 7, there’s a reasonable chance if a program is compatible with Vista, it will work okay on Windows 7. There are many new features a program can take advantage of but under the hood Windows 7 is still a new version of Vista.
Bailing out the Computer Industry
Last year Microsoft told customers that Windows 7 would ship in January 2010. This would be a huge mistake because it would completely miss the opportunity to increase holiday computer sales. For manufacturers to ship a shiny new Windows 7 computer, the product needs to be final sometime in October. While I don’t expect a government bail out of computer manufactures, it’s in the consumers best interest to have many successful competing OEM’s. (Original equipment manufacturer)
Students will choose PC’s not Macs
If they really want to push it, the next big computer sales period is the end of summer when parents and students are shopping. Vista’s current reputation may encourage more Mac purchases for kids going off to school. If there’s a release candidate in April, like currently being reported, that might allow a final OEM product being available by early summer. That would also be a huge boost for student computer sales and certainly help Microsoft’s bottom line.
My only complaint
One of the reasons Windows will generate new computer sales is because there currently is no upgrade path from Windows XP. If you have Windows XP you’ll need to install Windows 7 by reformatting from scratch.
Microsoft has posted a list of new changes for the upcoming Release Candidate.