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Opinion and Editorial

The World Through New Windows

Filed on October 24, 2009

If its pre-orders on are any indication, then Windows 7 is already on its way to living up to the expectations envisioned by Microsoft when it launched work on Blackcomb (that was what it was originally code-named) as a successor to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

Now 5-6 years down the line, it has hit the shelves and is being widely touted as an antidote to Windows Vista, which brought a gamut of functionality problems into the domain of an operating system that runs a majority of the world’s computers.

Compared to Vista, the new operating system promises faster boot times, fewer pop-up boxes, fewer clicks to accomplish common tasks, iPhone-style touch interfaces, and an XP-mode that allows users to work with a free, virtualised copy of Windows XP to run applications which are not compatible with the newer operating systems. More importantly, you don’t have to lose sleep over the fact that your old PC might not run Windows 7. If your system is less than four years old, has a 1Ghz processor, at least 1GB RAM for the 32-bit edition of Windows, 16 GB of available hard drive space and a graphics card that is compatible with DirectX10, you are good to go.

New features apart, the real deal behind Windows 7 is the collaborative approach that Microsoft used while developing it. For the first time they have shed their obsolete, insulated, engineering-led approach to developing an operating system that synchronized the needs of hardware manufacturers with the software. Judging by the enthusiastic response, Windows 7 has already done its job, though this time around they have been dictated to by the market, especially by the growing influence of Apple and Google which have been snapping at its heels for some time.

Earlier this year Apple released what it calls the world’s most advanced server and desktop operating system, the OS X Snow Leopard, with new end-user features which when bundled with the Mac make it a very tempting option for end users. Also waiting in the wings is the Google Chrome OS, which promises to take the whole concept of cloud computing to an entirely different level. Like other web applications, the Chrome OS will not come as a pre-installed solution for PC buyers. Users won’t have to tune and maintain the software on their systems. Once that happens, Microsoft’s overwhelming domination on the PC domain will come under threat.

Until then, Windows 7 is going to rule the roost. PC retailers who have been emptying their inventories in the run-up to the launch know very well that Windows 7 will help boost sales across the world. Microsoft won’t make too much money on the deployment and CEO Steve Ballmer knows that. But this time around it is not just about making money. Windows 7 has been primed to add shine to Microsoft’s brand image that has been somewhat sullied by an operating system which brought grief and heartburn to a lot of its users.

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