Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A reprieve of sorts

Microsoft has had their hand forced by the customer group with, by far, the most clout. Because many of their largest business customers are refusing to install the Vista operating system, choosing instead to wait until Windows 7 comes out (whenever that will be), Microsoft is going to extend support for WinXP until April of 1014. Typically, they stop supporting an OS 10 years after its release. But Vista has proven so problematic that they risk alienating their most consistent revenue source.

This appears to me to be a very aggressive, defensive move. They know that today's small and mid-sized firms are tomorrow's important customers. And today's big buyers will be quite cautious when asked to put their confidence in Windows 7. So Microsoft is hedging their bets. They know that they'll face an immediate and unpleasant reaction if they pull the plug on WinXP support. They also know that Windows 7 has to be really good. If not, then the mass movement from Windows to Linux & Mac will make the migration from main frame to desktop seem tranquil by comparison.

If it were me, I would be even more aggressive. I would ship every registered Vista customer an XP "downgrade" utility, discontinue Vista support, and redirect every available resource towards the Win7 release. It's a dramatic response, for sure. But they were good when they were bold, back in the day.

To read the InformationWeek article, click here.

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