October 28, 2008
Windows 7 Will Offer A Better Experience Than Vista
Microsoft maintains that the next version of windows will deliver a better experience to users than its much-maligned predecessor, Vista.
Windows 7, the forthcoming operating system, will allow users to avoid the many alerts and warnings from their computers, as rampant notifications and pop-up windows warning people of potential security risks have irked many users of Windows Vista.
"We had all the best intentions of helping to secure the PC platform even more, particularly for novice PC users who needed to be protected," said Steven Sinofsky, a senior vice president in Microsoft's Windows group.
The new operating system, set to be introduced in a test version early next year, also features touch screen technology and the ability to more easily personalize the system.
The company has since adopted a 'simple is better' philosophy, looking to remove complexity from an operating system that incorporated 50 million lines of programming code in Vista.
Every Windows 7 engineer was handed a pamphlet of core principles with Zen-like slogans such as "reduce concepts, increase confidence," and "small bad and good things matter."
"The general perception is that Vista is a damaged brand, so it behooves Microsoft to move on to sell something new even if it's not a quantum leap in terms of technology," said Toan Tran, analyst at Morningstar.
Since its launch in January 2007, Windows Vista has sold more than 180 million licenses, but Microsoft executives have said privately that the software over-promised and under-delivered, a problem that they say will not be repeated with Windows 7.
The world's largest software maker is also making Word, Excel and other key elements of Office - its flagship "productivity" programs - able to run in a Web browser.
Microsoft is feeling the increased competition as more software applications move online, highlighting the central role of Internet browsers in a world centered on the Web. Rivals such as Google Inc. now offer free word processing and spreadsheet programs online, threatening one of Microsoft's most precious profit centers.
The new operating system will also boast more user-friendly features, such as a new taskbar that previews all the open windows from a single application by hovering over the program's icon.
Also new, is what developers are calling "jumplists"-- a quick way of organizing recently used files, Web sites or often-used program features. Microsoft also introduced a concept called "libraries," which automatically finds similar files from a single PC, an external hard drive and even other PCs on a home network, then displays them together in a single folder.
Corporate customers have been slow to switch from Windows XP to Vista, despite Microsoft's claims that the operating system has enjoyed record sales.
But Microsoft's chief software architect Ray Ozzie defended Vista and indicated that Windows 7 would be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
"Vista is a great operating system, it's tremendously functional," he said. "Windows 7 brings it up a level by enabling it to take advantage of certain hardware innovations. PCs have evolved since Vista was launched."
Microsoft said it improved the speed of the system and cut the amount of memory it needs to run, which has been another complaint about Vista, as it generally needs costlier hardware configurations than the older Windows XP.
"We got a lot of feedback about Vista," said Sinofsky. "And we've responded with improvements and learned some lessons in developing Windows 7."
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