Is Microsoft Poised to Play a Role in US Economic Recovery with Windows 7?

me1It is tough to find a negative review of the Beta of Windows 7.   By and large the consensus seems to be that Microsoft is getting it right with what people have seen so far. In fact there’s some general excitement and quite a bit of surprise about what folks are seeing. Sure there is some sniping about Windows 7 being what Vista should have been, but given that well told story that is nothing more than boiler plate preamble in most articles.

In my own experience, Windows 7 is certainly much more stable than Vista. On the several devices on which I’ve installed the Beta, they all seem to perform a little faster if not the same. There is certainly no step back anywhere in my testing to date. In fact, I’m pretty convinced that I will install the Beta on one of my work machines and take my chances going forward.

On the smaller mobile device front, Beta testers are rushing to install Vista on Netbooks, and by and large are saying it works satisfactorily. (BTW, I’ve stolen the HP Mini 1000 back from my wife temporarily and am installing Windows 7 Beta on it, as I write this.)

But this post isn’t about the technological aspects of what works and what doesn’t. It is more about timing, and what the release of Windows 7 could potentially mean on a broader economic front depending on timing. Intel’s CEO says the industry may be in for a reset because of the economic woes and maybe that’s not such a bad thing given the insane race that we’ve been experiencing over the last few years. The tech sector is experiencing layoffs and cutbacks just like very other sector in the economy. Some are predicting that many of the cloud apps more and more are beginning to use will fold up in the year ahead. In general RSS feeds are full of bad news and no one can point to any light at the end of the tunnel, although the much of current speculation is trying to point to 2010 or later. Perhaps that’s wishful thinking, or just needing to place some point on the timescale, who knows.

We’ve heard speculation about a release date for Windows 7 ranging from late summer to the Christmas holidays of this year to 2010. No one outside of Redmond, and perhaps even inside, knows for sure when the release will occur. What we do know is that the overwhelming negative response to Vista has kept consumers and businesses from taking the plunge. So there are consumers and businesses out there potentially poised for changes yet to come should they be able to or willing to make a purchase.

But let’s suppose for the moment that Microsoft chooses to release Windows 7 in time for the Christmas season of 2009, and let’s suppose we start to see some early indicators of success in the economy around the 4th quarter in 2009. Microsoft may find itself in a position with Windows 7 to be a leading indicator, and possibly a driver (there will need to be others) in an economic recovery at a time where the technology sector may still be somewhat reeling from the current round of layoffs and cutbacks.

Will that happen? I don’t know.   One heck of a lot of things would need to go right on so many levels for it to be the case. If the dark economic clouds show no sign of lifting by the end of 2009, then all bets are off. But from a timing standpoint here in the anxiety and hope filled days pre-The Big Change in Washington, the stage appears to be set for the parameters to line up in Microsoft’s favor.

If it does happen. Remember you read it here first.