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.

5 Comments

  1. Paul Harrigan

    01/18/2009 at 5:22 pm

    I know that we are postponing all of our system replacements to buy Windows 7 with Corei7 chips. The Intel products are here — albeit with higher prices than we expect at the end of the year, but Windows 7 is too immediate to ignore.

    However, that may wait until early 2010, since we may want to go 64-bit, and Office 14 is not due this year, from what I here.

    On the other hand, we have a small organization and won’t be doing more than 10 systems this year — which obviously won’t stop the recession.

    Reply

  2. Adi

    01/18/2009 at 8:24 pm

    I actually got that same vibe after reading through the reaction since the Beta went official. Up until then the buzz was positive but limited to the few who have advanced copies or were savvy enough to test the leaked builds.

    As someone who thought MS could not get fair shake from the media, its shocking to see the positive and snarkless reception.

    If MS can harness a good decent marketing outfit like back in Win95 and make this highly visible rollout then I won’t be the least bit surprised if your prediction comes true.

    Also, lets not forget that iHype and preening Apple gets is also winding down a bit. In this economic climate even the most effete lifestyle conscious ‘tech’ bloggers can’t shill for AAPL with a straight face.

    Reply

  3. GoodThings2Life

    01/18/2009 at 8:49 pm

    Warner, I agree completely that at a bare minimum, Windows 7’s launch will put Microsoft at the front of the line for an economic recovery… certainly in the tech sector, and it’s for good reason too.

    I’ve seen plenty of people criticizing it as what Vista should have been (have even made the comment myself a few times), but I think most remember that XP was despised until SP2, so many see W7 is just Vista’s SP2 or 98’s Second Edition, etc.

    Frankly, that’s a good thing that people are making the connection and realizing that it’s going to be worth their time. I know I plan to buy it having used it 8 days now. Like you, I’m going to deploy it on my work PC too and see where it takes me.

    Unlike all the iHype that Adi mentions, Microsoft has opened this up to the public in a big way. It’s not just a press release, not just a fancy demo on stage, it’s the real McCoy. They’ll come away with a LOT of feedback too, and from now until release it’s spit and polish time, which means the release candidate and final product will truly shine. You’d never see Apple do this. And Linux– fuhgettaboutit! It’s still a geek’s wet dream, but it’s not end-user friendly.

    So that 70-80% market share… get ready for a renewal… I smell upgrades!

    Reply

  4. GoodThings2Life

    01/18/2009 at 8:57 pm

    PS– the mention of Office 14… it might be better if we not see them release together.

    Consider:

    XP’s support is gone, and businesses are already past the point of no return waiting for W7. If they don’t move forward with upgrade plans by the start of 2010, they’re gonna be hurting in terms of support contracts and agreements (especially since it’s not looking good for XP-W7 direct upgrades).

    Also, IT administrators like myself know it’s better to roll out small doses of change to users too. They hate us when we go from XP w/ Office 2003 to Vista w/ Office 2007 and they have to literally relearn everything. Better to roll it out in stages for that reason too.

    Of course, why wait and spend $600-$800 at one time for their upgrades and lots of retraining headaches and expenses, when they can spend $300 here and $400 later? Focus retraining over the long term as well. It would certainly mean a more prolonged economic stimulus.

    Reply

  5. billy

    01/19/2009 at 11:13 am

    I have heard so much negativity about vista and I cant see why. I have vista on a 450 dollar brand new laptop and it works like a charm. way better than xp in look and feel, usability, coolness, and every other neasure. stop being lemmings. vista works great but dont try to put it on an old machine just like you shouldnt put a porshce engine in a 1980 chrysler lebaron.
    thanks

    Reply

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