Anonymous yet personal, this Blog chronicles
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

October 22nd


If you haven't noticed, today is the worldwide release of the retail editions of Microsoft's latest desktop operating system: Windows 7.


Formerly codenamed Blackcomb and Vienna, it has gone through more beta testing than any other Microsoft desktop OS.

Windows 7 is reported to address many of the complaints lodged against it's predecessor Windows Vista - which was almost universally disliked by consumers and businesses alike.

Microsoft is at a critical junction. Last year their revenues declined for the first time in their history while Apple Computer had record profits. Part of this shift relates to the way people use technology. Personal computers just aren't as popular they use to be. The growth of handheld devices such as iPhones currently outpaces PC sales, and this trend is projected continue - particularly in emerging markets.

Having experienced all of the Windows operating system roll outs, I'm quite familiar with the marketing blitz that Microsoft is famous for. This morning Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was a guest on Good Morning America talking up their new product (Microsoft is part owner of the MSNBC network). Ballmer explained that Windows was originally a product driven by home users, then it became a corporate-oriented product, and now it's mass market consumer driven again. Sixty-five percent of PCs this year will be purchased by home users, and of them, at least 9 out of 10 will likely be sold with a version of Windows 7 pre-installed. It is estimated that MS Windows is currently installed on a billion computers world wide.

But not everyone is jubilant in Microsoft-land. Apple has made significant inroads into the market with their signature and trendy Apple Stores. Microsoft has now reluctantly decided to adapt this direct to consumer business plan. Look for eye-catching and trendy Microsoft stores to open at a shopping mall near you. Google is pushing Android, its new OS for PDAs and smart cell phones. Ballmer has a lot on the line.

And if all of these competitive pressures were not enough, Microsoft faces major challenges in China where there 80% their products are illegally downloaded from the net by users. While China will become the biggest market for companies like Walmart and KFC, Microsoft products are easily downloaded from Baidu free of charge. So far Microsoft has been unable to stem the culture of piracy.

Anyway, Steve Ballmer seems like his job. Here is a short YouTube clip of the Microsoft chief doing his spiel....



That outburst by the boss seems a little like something we might see on the popular television program "The Office." Life imitating art, I guess.

As for myself, I'm going to wait for the first service pack to be released before I consider taking the plunge. What's the rush?

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