The formal release of Windows 7 is still months away, but the new operating system is already being given the thumbs-up by industry analysts.
Pund-IT principal analyst Charles King said in a recent report that the release of Windows 7 should go far better than the disastrous first months of Windows Vista.
King pointed to Microsoft's different approach to the development and release of Windows 7, arguing that, while Vista was an ambitious farewell project for Bill Gates, Windows 7 has reflected a better-managed development under the eye of current chief executive Steve Ballmer.
"Early reports suggest that Ballmer's baby should enjoy a successful and prosperous life, meaning that Microsoft's customers and partners and the greater IT marketplace will find much to like and even more to gain in Windows 7," he wrote.
Fellow industry analyst Roger Kay, founder and president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, shared King's favourable opinion on Windows 7, agreeing that Microsoft appears to have overcome many of the mistakes it made with Vista.
Specifically, Kay noted a greater focus on a disciplined development process. Microsoft was able to give its vendors and third-party developers time to iron out compatibility problems by having most of the code finalised early.
"Most importantly, Windows 7's feature set was 98 per cent locked early in the process. So no pet features crept in to subsequent builds," he said.
"Also, the back end of the code is the much maligned but now highly stable and robust Vista back end. After two years, the important services behind the Vista interface have been much banged upon and haven't moved a lot beyond being adapted to the specifics of Windows 7."
If Windows 7 is more stable and compatible with hardware and software than Vista, Kay predicts that the operating system will be able to log far better sales with IT buyers who generally wait until the first service pack release to upgrade.
Kay also suggested that enterprises that had avoided upgrading to Vista would be eager to move from ageing Windows XP software to the new operating system, further boosting business sales.
"In the first year, the percentage of commercial buyers who adopt a new operating system usually hovers in the single digits," Kay said. "This time may well be different, however."
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