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Microsoft Hopes for Windows 7 PC Bump

The year 2009 has been one of the more forgettable we've experienced in...well, quite a while, anyway. And while it's hard to tell whether the economy is recovering (ask a stockbroker and somebody who's out of work, and you'll likely get two very different answers), glimmers of hope for 2010 are starting to show through the thick financial clouds that have been over us for close to two years now.

Microsoft hopes it's seeing one of those glimmers with the release of Windows 7. A Microsoft VP said in London this week that the company hopes the new operating system will spark a "PC refresh" in corporate IT departments in 2010. Spake Neil Holloway of Microsoft International:

"'Most people do expect that there will be a PC refresh. And I think one of the things that will hopefully drive that will be Windows 7,' he said."

Well, of course you do, Neil. We all do. But while Windows 7 is still getting mostly rave reviews, we're not so sure that it'll be the catalyst for a wave of corporate PC purchases. Operating systems just don't have that kind of impact anymore; as long as XP is still useful, cash-strapped and recovering companies will get all the use out of the old OS that they can.

Your editor is currently writing a story for Redmond magazine on Windows 7 migrations (and thanks, by the way, to those who contributed to it). We've received quite a few e-mails in the Redmond Media Group about Windows 7 migration experiences -- but most involved folks upgrading their own computers at home. If we had to make a conclusion about our entirely unscientific little e-mail data pile, it would be that XP is still going to be the OS market leader by some distance at the end of 2010. Most folks told us that their organizations have no plans to upgrade in the near future.

We're still skeptics about the economy here at RCPU, although we're hardly experts on it. But what we do know is that a new release of Windows doesn't have the same effect on companies that it once did. Windows 7 is, from all we hear, much better than Vista and a huge leap forward from XP. But despite enthusiasm about it, it's not an absolutely necessary upgrade (yet).

Besides, it's the economy that dictates PC refresh cycles, which in turn give us OS market share sea changes. It doesn't work the other way around anymore, if it ever did. And while we're seeing the same slivers of economic sunlight that everybody else is seeing, we're not sure they'll last. And we're pretty sure that they don't justify Microsoft (or any other software company) putting on metaphorical sunglasses.

What are your plans to migrate to Windows 7? Do you expect a PC refresh bump in 2010? Send your thoughts to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 12/03/2009 at 1:22 PM


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