Windows 7: A New Marketing Approach

Microsoft’s new strategy to achieve this starts with how they are handling the Windows 7 development process. Microsoft believes that they’ve met all their technical goals in solving Vista’s problems and undesirable quirks, and they want to let the world know before someone else (i.e. Apple) tells the world otherwise. There’s a very specific marketing strategy in place to make this happen that’s focusing on users and the press alike, and before we dive into the technical matters it’s here we’d like to start.

For dealing with the press, Microsoft hit the ground running. Back in October of 2008 they invited most of the major press to come see the latest Windows 7 Community Technical Preview builds (more or less an alpha build). We weren’t able to attend this due to scheduling issues, but as far as the event was concerned it was a success: the press that attended were speaking highly of Windows 7. And they hadn’t even seen everything.

Besides directly courting the press, Microsoft has been making sure that there’s always something new to talk about, so that the press doesn’t stop talking. While Microsoft had previously discussed the new Windows 7 GUI and taskbar, the CTP builds did not contain these items. So when Beta 1 shipped with these items finally activated, it gave the press something to talk about even if they had previously reported on the CTP builds. Microsoft has continued with this strategy even after Beta 1 by still holding back features (hey guys, betas are supposed to be feature complete). Only now with RC1 are they showing off everything, so the press once again gets something new to talk about: Virtual Windows XP.

With the press thoroughly impressed with Windows 7, the focus becomes the users. There’s no better way to prove you’ve done something than to actually show everyone, so that’s exactly what Microsoft has done. While Windows betas have always been somewhat open, Microsoft had made the unprecedented move of making the Windows 7 betas wide open. Anyone that wants to try Windows 7 can, with no strings attached. Technical users have had no problem “acquiring” development releases before, but this opens up tasting and testing to anyone that can install the OS.


Marketing is in full swing before the OS even ships

Thus far Microsoft’s new strategy has been working well. By all measures the press is abuzz about Windows, and when Microsoft released Beta 1 to the public it resulted in a complete meltdown of their download servers. With no snark intended, Microsoft has clearly found an effective marketing strategy. If Windows 7 were to struggle like Vista, it wouldn’t be due to the marketing.

This brings us to today. Microsoft has rapidly blown through the beta process, and after just one official beta release they’re ready to certify Windows 7 for release candidate status. This marks the second public build of Windows 7, and will likely be an even bigger occasion than Beta 1. Release candidates are feature complete and are supposed to be good enough to ship, and at the very least should be good enough for daily use.

We’ve only had Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 for a few days now, so we’ve been scrambling to put together a guide on its features and performance in anticipation of what we expect many of you will be asking today: is it any good? Bear in mind that with performance subject to change between now and its release date this isn’t a top-to-bottom guide, but it’s something that should answer everyone’s burning questions about Windows 7’s performance while they install it.

Finally, Microsoft has continued to be tight-lipped on how long the release candidate stage will last. With respect to when Windows 7 will go gold, all they have said is that they are shooting for no later than three years after Vista, which would be February of 2010. However, it’s just about the worst kept secret inside Microsoft right now that they want to get it out in time for the holidays. It took four months before they were ready to certify it as a release candidate – it may be even less before it’s considered done. We would be surprised to see another release candidate if the beta process is anything to go by.

Index 7?
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  • izal169 - Thursday, July 02, 2009 - link

    development of the technology is quite rapid. My computer specifications are not strong for Windows 7 that high quality. specification of my computer, intel core 2 duo, 1 Gb RAM, VGA Nvidia 7300 GS. microsoft is very cool. can make the OS with a relatively quick time.
    http://duitol.com/stop-dreaming-start-action/">http://duitol.com/stop-dreaming-start-action/
    Reply
  • deteugma - Friday, June 05, 2009 - link

    I was an XP diehard until I installed Windows 7. Now I'm a convert and a proselytizer. I love Windows 7. It will be the first version Windows that I actually buy for myself, rather than accept for free from a family member's employer (university license). MS won't have trouble winning converts from the diehard crowd. Reply
  • Biomorphic - Wednesday, May 27, 2009 - link

    Windows 7 has software based audio processing just like Windows Vista and my question is, will VXP enable hardware based audio processing or will it remain software based? Reply
  • PC Reviewer - Monday, May 18, 2009 - link

    it looks alright as long as its performance is as good as, if not better than xp's. Im looking to do a review about Windows 7 on my blog soon aswell. http://www.pcreviewer.org">http://www.pcreviewer.org Reply
  • alon - Sunday, May 17, 2009 - link

    First, I did not read all the comments, so if this has already been stated, I do apologize. For that matter, after the "Standard Test Bed" page I stopped reading the article. So .. maybe these issues have already been discussed.

    1) OK, so Vista x64 SP2 was released around May 11th (at least for my MSDN subscription, possibly earlier for others?) And it appears that the Windows 2008 SP2 bits were released around May
    14th. I still don't see an SP2 installer, but I can do a clean install with SP2 already slipstreamed. So ... I've looked and looked, but I can not find an XP Pro x64 SP3 anywhere. And according to Microsoft around last September, there was not going to be an WinXP Pro x64 SP3. So ... if you do have this SP3 around ... please let me know what MSDN/TechNet or whatever subscription you have so I can upgrade mine ... or point me to the release page.
    2) Concerning corporate IT ... one of the issues mentioned at the beginning of the article is the computing resources needed to run Vista ... which to me alludes to the fact that many companies chose not to upgrade to Vista based on HW requirements (of course Vista without Aero can run on many "lower" configurations, but of course the average company employee does not know this). I digress ... your test bed platform is not really anything that CorporateIT depts will be deploying. Core i7 ... released 7 months ago ... 6GB RAM. Please ... if you are going to try and "proove" that performance is decent with Windows 7 ... at least run some test systems that are not the toys we dream of, but the systems that are installed in the office. Until Microsoft and folks like you understand that companies can not afford to always buy new HW, the new OSs have to run on the last generation technology (actually more like HW from 2 years ago) ... your comparisons and results are useless ... and my 18month old Lenovo T61 does exactly what I need it to do. So, there would be no reason to upgrade to Win7 until MS End-of-lifes WinXP.
    Reply
  • Razer2911 - Wednesday, May 13, 2009 - link

    Moving on from Vista 32, I have to say i'm impressed. There are very subtle changes and tweaks which actually make the experience better. A simple example would be the new taskbar, Jump lists and Aero peek feature. I for one dont like a million windows open on my desktop, somehow i always found it cumbersome and cluttered but within a couple of hours of using Windows 7 i found myself using 10-15 windows without getting bothered by the clutter. Never used a Mac but these new features actually have both form and function.
    One thing that i have not been able to figure out as yet is that all my videos (divx) and movies look very grainy and slightly pixelated on WMP 12 and VLC.
    Reply
  • tomb18 - Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - link

    Support for canadian television in canada has always been limited in Media Center. Since HD digital over the air broadcasts (atsc)became available in the US, this has been supported in Media Center but not if you lived in Canada. Digital tuners are DISABLED by media center in all versions including Windows 7. This is in spite of the fact that canada uses the same ATSC system as the US. Many hacks have appeared but they always seem to be disabled by updates. This continues in Windows 7. As soon as the software determines that you reside in Canada, it disables the ATSC tuner.

    But get this. South Korea uses the same ATSC standard and it IS supported in that country.

    There are a lot of forums (such as the green button, run by the media center developers)that discuss this to no avail. No amount of questions, emails, or anything will get a comment from Microsoft. Even when MSVP's try to take up the battle nothing gives.

    There has been a lot of hope for Windows 7, that it would finally be supported, but alas, it is the status quo. My question is will Microsoft give a warning about the version of Windows 7 that contain media center for the canadian market telling canadians that their digital tuners will not work?

    I really wish that some website with industry influence (hint...hint) would expose this pointing out to the canadian market that they should not buy Windows 7 if they want to use the media center.
    Reply
  • AnnihilatorX - Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - link

    Replace the function of minimising other windows with one that makes the window being shaked always on top. Now this is a useful function.

    Nevertheless I have been using AutoHotkey (automation programming platform) to assign Alt+z hotkey to make windows always on top in other windows. This is a feature I can't live without, along with Windows key + Scroll wheel on mouse to change transparency. These had help me multitask with different windows very efficiently.
    Reply
  • rasmasyean - Sunday, May 10, 2009 - link

    I think people might have over-estimated Vista as the OS that will sweep across the world and change computers as we know it over-night. It didn't exactly turn out as expected, but I don't think it doesn't seem it did too bad.

    Gartner research report predicted that Vista business adoption in 2008 will actually beat that of XP during the same time frame (21.3% vs. 16.9%)[80] while IDC had indicated that the launch of Windows Server 2008 served as a catalyst for the stronger adoption rates.[81][82] As of January 2009, Forrester Research had indicated that almost one third of North American and European corporations have started deploying Vista.[83]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Vista">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Vista
    Reply
  • compuser2010 - Sunday, May 10, 2009 - link

    "Never underestimate the power of marketing – many people can tell you they don’t like Vista, few can tell you why."

    I don't like Vista primarily because of built-in Digital Rights Management (DRM). Any time I need to capture, edit and/or transcode audio and/or video, I need to go back to XP.

    I have confirmed this with the following programs:

    Audacity 1.2.6
    Canopus EDIUS Broadcast 4.61
    Creative Labs Smart Recorder 2.40.23
    Moyea FLV to Video Converter Pro 2
    Ulead DVD Workshop 2
    Reply

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