Windows

Podcast: Can Windows 7 jumpstart the PC industry and IT spending?

Windows 7 arrives on Oct. 22 and The Big Question podcast discusses the impact it will have on the PC industry, IT spending, and Microsoft itself.

Podcast

Windows 7 officially arrives this week and The Big Question podcast discusses the impact it will have on the PC industry, IT spending, and Microsoft itself.

The Big Question is a joint production from ZDNet and TechRepublic that I co-host with ZDNet Editor in Chief Larry Dignan. This week's guest is Mary Jo Foley, author of the popular ZDNet blog All About Microsoft.

You can play this 17-minute episode from the Flash-based player at the top of the page or:

Stories discussed in this episode:

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

50 comments
jkameleon
jkameleon

I've already bought one of these for my daughter, and it looks and works great. I'm even a bit envious, I must admit. The way things look right now, my next machine will run on Ubuntu. I might have Windows of one kind or another on virtual machine, or eventually on dual boot. As for the future of IT and Windows- I don't give a rotten rat fuck about it anymore. I'm sick and tired of contributing to Bill Gates's unmerited wealth.

dwd1949
dwd1949

Everything is relative to the economic downturn, upswing or just plain status quo. Business will not invest in upgrading unless there is substantial gains to be had in doing so. Essentially, money is tight and unless an immediate savings is truly derivived from an upgrade then it can wait. The same essentially will be for the average consumer unless there is something to be derived from an upgrade. It's not necessary for the consumer under these economic times unless there truly is something to be derived as bring advantageous over his/her current system. The likeliness of replacement will be necessitated only on hardware systems that are dysfunctional or archaic and need replacement.

Tim Acheson
Tim Acheson

I use both PC and Mac, on which I have upgraded to Windows 7 and Snow Leopard respectively. (I also use Ubuntu, Debian, etc.) Windows 7 is the best OS I've ever used. Snow Leopard is really just the previous Mac OS with some refinements. Windows 7 is a next-generation OS. Similarly, Internet Explorer 8 is the most secure web browser, and in many real-world scenarios it's also the fastest. (E.g. IE8 loads Google's homepage faster than Google's own browser, Chrome.) I can understand people's caution when upgrading their OS. But Windows 7 is a good move. However, my advice would be to wait a few months for the hardware to catch-up. Many people buying Win 7 now, especially Vista machines with an option to upgrade to Win 7, are getting a next-gen OS on current-gen hardware. Win 7 supports much better hardware specs, so you might as well wait for the manufacturers to start making use of it.

rciafardone@gmail.com
rciafardone@gmail.com

Man i would have digged most of your post if you havent said that bit about security and speed with IE8. 7 is great, just not Super enough... Maybe it is your personal experience with IE8, but that has no meaning whatsoever and is most likely atributed to some really weird setting on your machine. Both Firefox and Chrome beat IE8 in speed (Chrome leads), Both FF and Chrome beat it in security (Firefox generaly leads), both install faster and both have a smaller ram footprint... so... Are you some MS undercover agent or something? Do you live in REDMOND instead of London? Just "google" benachmarks for all 3 browsers, i havent seen the first one from an indepedent party that give the lead to IE8, and in my personal experience i prefer firefox 3.5 since i really dont care for the speed that much and I am already used to the customized interface... that i cant emulate correctly on Chrome.

bwallan
bwallan

I've upgraded a Windows XP Pro platform and a Vista Office platform to IE8 and both are the least stable releases of IE I've ever run! IE on both platforms simply will not run without constant errors bringing up the debugger (in my case VS2008). I wouldn't be running IE at all if I didn't require it for some ActiveX routines that won't run on FireFox, Opera or Chrome.

JLVFR
JLVFR

In our company, recently, after a round of windows XP+IE8 updates, severall of our applications, that run on Oracle IAS, will not work! I've been forced to switch off Data Execution Prevention on the afected PCs but, even so, in severall I've had to install Firefox... that made me very very sad.. *sarcasm*

jcommunications
jcommunications

In order to get people to upgrade, the new version would have to have some advantage to make people want to pay for it, something the old ones don't have. It doesn't. From what little we've messed around with 7 here, it just seems like a less buggy, faster Vista. It might work a bit better indeed than Vista, but as far as inspiring people to run out and spend money...Why would it do that? I just don't see it. The only thing MS has going for it is it's planned obsolescence as they've announced there will only be security patches and paid support for XP in the future. That will be the biggest driver to upgrade, or perhaps second biggest behind PCs wearing out/breaking down and needing to be replaced.

Brian.Walters2
Brian.Walters2

It seems to me that Microsoft have been hoping that history would repeat itself; as with the release of XP which came hard on the heels of WinMe, but this time they've got it wrong. What really pushed the XP boom at the turn of the century wasn't the OS but the dramatic increase of PC sales. It was not the other way round as they seem to hope now with the release of Win7 after the debacle of Vista. A new operating system isn't going to drive PC sales. Microsoft now find themselves in the same position as other operating systems in trying to break into the Windows XP monopoly. After ten years of monthly updates and hotfixes, and three service pack issues, XP is sometimes claimed to be the most stable and secure Microsoft OS on the market, and I have to admit that compared with Vista it still appears to be almost bombproof. I recently "upgraded" one client's troublesome laptop from Vista to XP; haven't seen him since!

rciafardone@gmail.com
rciafardone@gmail.com

Also XP came with HUGE compatibility... it could run DOS programs, as well as stuff developed for 95 and 98... This meant that upgrading was painless for almost everyone; also the plug and play finally meant what it was named for... Ergo came the total dominace of XP. Vista didnt came with that compatibility, heck even stuff made for Vista ran better on XP (Halo hack anyone? ;P). Plus it had such a fat ass that low-end "new" machines (so called "Vista Basic Certified") ran like an amputated turtle.

dcollins
dcollins

I think the general population is wary after the release of Vista and propaganda by Apple. I don't see any of our clients suddenly jumping on the Win 7 bandwagon just because it is new. I don't expect a significant shift until there are more WIndows 2008 servers deployed and companies decide to utilize Direct Access and other new functional items that require the shift. I'd love to see Microsoft start a new ad campaign that attacks Apple where it hurts - security vulnerabilities, the guest account problem and elevated computer costs.

john3347
john3347

While Windows 7 offers a significant improvement over Vista in hardware compatibility and overall performance, much has been taken away in "user experience". Compared with what XP has finally become, it is still a step backward. Considering the price Microsoft is placing on the various OS versions, they better hope for a HUGE home-user influx buying new computers because that will be their primary market. There is no incentive for the SMB and corporate world to abandon XP.

gstrickland
gstrickland

Yes, I agree. There's no reason to abandon XP and I suspect the vast majority of the business sector will stay as they are. The only thing which might prevent XP from continuing to be a stable OS will be the updates.

dcarr@winning.com
dcarr@winning.com

I see absolutely no reason for businesses in this economy to go to W7. XP has support until April 2014. If my car is running well, a NEW Paint Job may make it look a lot better, but it won't run any better. W7 is window (pardon the pun) dressing. Businesses and the average home user care that the apps. they want to use function correctly, and could care less about the OS. The OS can get in the way of that happening, as we all know, and as M$ has failed to learn. M$ is totally out of touch with reality, and could care less what WE want. This latest fiasco could finally be their demise (to the satisfaction of many of us). GO Linux!!!!! As for Windows: I will continue to run XP Pro until it is no longer supported and becomes unstable.

RF7000
RF7000

I've used xp for the last 8 or whatever years, have about an hour total of exposure to vista from friend's computers and have seen that is still "windows". Windows 7 is still "windows", but like vista was to XP, will simply cause incompatibility issues and all new learning curves. Jump Start the industry, I think not, more like force everyone to pay up to keep things running. What will windows 7 do that XP cannot ? It is still "windows" and for the vast majority of end users at this time, I don't see it offering anything substantial to justify the cost. The only thing that immediately comes to mind is the 4GB RAM barrier on 32-bit XP, which for most people don't have applications that need it... the vast majority of office computers running microsoft office certainly don't. The marketing push to windows 7 will be a big scam, and linux will benefit from it.

adamdevere
adamdevere

I am concerned, because when you buy PC games, Vista requires more RAM than XP. Can you tell me if Windows 7 will require the same amount of RAM as Vista or will it be less?

greg.hruby
greg.hruby

technology developers are, by and large, out of sync with their market. From 1980 through 1995 business sectors of the market bought PC technology when it "finally" met their needs - which resulted in growth in the technology sector. Then Y2K provided an artificial "pump" to the sales and services side. Then Expansion of internet business sevices model matured ( banking, entertainment, online documents, etc.) - which drove bettre connection technology and database systems. In each case a "market driver" external to an individual companies general needs and to the happen-stance technology development process provided the extra push for the market to accelerate adoption. Today the 3rd Accelerating Factor is not present. Companies are not "looking" to replace and upgrade technology - because its now the equivalent of 1960's carbon-paper. You can get it anywhere, you understand its function, you can re-use it until it actually stops working. Companies will be spending money on resources, overtime, shipping, debt-reduction, hiring. They know how to live with the old stuff just .... fine.

JLVFR
JLVFR

Add to this the growing number of services provided by outside companies (e-mail, antivirus, etc), the (usually) small number of IT professionals in many companies (which means most, like me, are forced to juggle many tech "eggs" at the same time) and the conflict of "stability+cost saving" vs "new stuff" will tend to go the way of keeping what you have now.

steven.taylor
steven.taylor

Greg, you've just about got it right, especially for SMB. We've got 90 people with 90 desktops. There is no plan here to go from XP Pro to Windows 7. There is more than just the software cost. We're not going to upgrade our 8 year old CRM or ERP systems. When we need an enhancement, we write our own. Most software packages are so bloated that we don't need 70 or 80 percent of what we're paying for. Why spend 75K on a system when we only need 20 percent that we can develop ourselves at half the cost. If software vendors understood this, they'd write better software.

number15
number15

its a joke, we the IT people know it all by now, and the bad news is.. kiddies has already starting to learn computer at the very young age. in a few years these generation will completely understand what a joke microsoft is. it will become a common knowledge and tought in school in every corner of the world. history has shown that microsoft never invented anything. they don't even invented windows. *it is the joke of the century and it is really ironic* ps: we started to have xhtml in 1998... if it wasn't because of microsoft, by now, we already way pass xhtml and stupid php or ajax. we will be having 3d website...

CaptMorgan
CaptMorgan

When has MS ever stated they "invented" something? I bet you thin Apple invented something. Your logic is not logical. I didn't buy a car from the inventor of the automobile, I didn?t buy my computer from the inventor of the computer, I didn?t buy my TV from the inventor of the Television, I don?t fly in a plane invented by the Wright Brothers, why should I buy my OS from an inventor of Windows? IT is all about moving forward, change and new technology, whatever that turns out to be. Get on board, or get left behind.

Curt.Hupe@keystrokesmt.
Curt.Hupe@keystrokesmt.

You might know it all. However, based on your post, you don't sound very intelligent.

Frank-JH
Frank-JH

"we will be having 3d website..." And if it wasn't for Microsoft, I would have my flying car and jet pack, boy did they mess up the future.

rickclark9
rickclark9

Your rant might be a little more convincing if you used punctuation, capitalization, or if what you wrote made any sense at all. "ps: we started to have xhtml in 1998..." What in the world does any of this have to do with Windows 7? Maybe what we should be more concerned about is the ignorance of grammar and total lack of written skills. It is just another operatings system 15! Snuggle up to that penguin of yours and chill.

i.hilliard
i.hilliard

The question has to be: "Is there anything in Windows 7 that would cause users to drop what they already have?" As far as I can see, Vista users may want to have a free upgrade. WinXP users are used to their WinXP and will probably not want to change. Besides, a lot of WinXP software will not run properly on Windows 7 so why should users change. People buy a computer to do a job. This job is often done by a piece of software that the user already has. If a new platform won't run that software, then it doesn't do the job. Ian

steven.taylor
steven.taylor

My first test of the RTM version of Win 7 was an install on a Dell Business Desktop. A decent machine that doesn't not need an upgrade. But couldn't find any video drivers so had to just use a generic, which was 640x480 vga. We are not going to buy new hardware. So we won't be upgrading anytime soon (besides, it will break our current CRM and ERP systems, unless we upgrade those too!) Windows 7 won't give us anything that will help our business, that we can see.

sinnistar
sinnistar

I agree that there isn't a need to upgrade to Windows 7 if a user is happy with what they have. I disagree about Winxp software not running. Everything I have used in Windows Xp runs in Windows 7 and there is the the Windows XP compatibility mode.

klaasvanbe
klaasvanbe

I agree completely. I know what I have with Vista and on another machine Mac OSX. Not a single reason to change as long as both work fine for me.

benson_tan2001
benson_tan2001

What is the purpose if the Windows 7 software can't run most of the softwares in Windows XP Pro?

nospam.online
nospam.online

I'm hearing from a lot of people that they dont want to "spend" since the current administration is spending so much. This economy is too unstable. Why buy new when the current works and new brings so much trouble. FYI: I like Windows 7, used it for a while now but lose some of my main programs so I wont be changing. I doubt the school will for this same reason. MS really wanted to make it's efforts somethign to notice, cut ceo and board wages by 1/2 and drop all Windows 7 Pricing by at least $75.00 and give it away to some users. Mass push into the market of the product or idea like they way Obama handles real world news stories.

outlawsgirl1964
outlawsgirl1964

I think Windows 7 will sky rocket the PC market.

bwallan
bwallan

We've looked at Win 7 and see nothing of value in it over what is proven technology under Windows XP. Why would we want to disrupt operations to move to an untested platform!? Sheer lunacy! 64 bit platform is slower than 32. No features in Win 7 that we require. It runs slower than Win XP and takes up a larger footprint. All losses and no gains!

rciafardone@gmail.com
rciafardone@gmail.com

32 is not faster than 64... at least not on a 64 machine. What happens is that there have been a severe misshandling of all thing developed for 64 bits. An aplication that are developed for 32 will also run slower on a 64 system

wbranch
wbranch

Depends. Does Windows 7 offer the company evaluating it a compelling reason to make the switch, or would it be an upgrade for the sake of an upgrade? I'd compare this to the TV/movie industry and the writer's strike they had recently. The TV industry simply ran reruns and maintained a 90% audience share, while the writers weren't seeing a penny. When the writers came back, TV started to re-evaluate how it did business. Take that to business, and the downturn in the economy has forced business to live with what it has instead of moving on to the latest and greatest. If businesses find they can 'get by' with what they have, and it doesn't seriously hinder productivity, then why upgrade? Think of it this way, there are countless calls on these message boards to dump Windows for a different OS (Linux, Mac, etc.), but very few companies do that. Why? Because they know what they have, and even at free, they don't see a compelling reason to flip to something different, so unless Windows 7 makes a compelling case, companies will stand pat (especially since an upgrade would decidedly be not free).

jim.achuff
jim.achuff

10/23/09:"@jasonhiner Lots of IT pros are still VERY skeptical about Windows 7. Check out the comments to this piece: http://bit.ly/2vPbXh" Jason, despite the fact that the small sample size of comments that you?re referencing are skeptical about Windows 7, the fact is, it is here to stay. All new PCs sold from here on out (for the next few years) will have Win7 as an option. Win7 as an OS will not drive PC sales, but as companies refresh their PC hardware, they will at some point need to move to 7. I think we are already past the early adopter phase, which I've blogged about. Jim Achuff http://blog.interphasesystems.com

Chris_Muncy
Chris_Muncy

I manage a small company that other than AutoCAD and Power Mill, all my users just need Office. I see no immediate need to upgrade from XP. Its the old "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", especially in the current economy. Now with that being said, I'm running Windows 7 and I have one of my engineers runnign Windows 7 x64 so that we can look at it's performance. With all of that being said, if we were to move to Win 7, all of my current Dell hardware will work.

srobinson
srobinson

They'll probably even have modern hardware, and run XP beautifully. Come on everyone, go buy a new Computer with Win7, then sell me your perfectly good used computer for a song! ;)

georgeh536
georgeh536

I plan to continue using an IBM (not Lenovo, mentioned only for reasons of hardware age) running XP Pro which I purchased as an IBM employee, which company never made the switch to Vista. IBM IT has never made a clear statement of why it stuck with XP Pro, but the answer is fairly obvious: upgrade AND retrain thousands of hardware and squishware units for no gain, in fact a loss? The cost of the OS is chump change in the corporate environment. Microsoft could have "apologized" by creating and offering the kind of painless upgrade path provided for Vista users but (assuming it was technically possible)instead has chosen to "punish" approximately two thirds of the existing Windows population. If I were head of end-user computing in some large corporation, I would be giving serious consideration to moving to Ubuntu and Open Office.

maronm
maronm

Our only current business alternative at the present time is XP Pro which was a tremendous business environment operating system. The problem with XP is the way the OS grew to astronomical proportions. On its' release, XP could be comfortably run on a P4 with 512MB MEM. Now, the OS requires a minimum of 1GB to run at average performance. I have been running WIN7 in a test environment and have had no problems at all. There is more stability in the OS, applications run quickly and device driver compatability has not been an issue. This is not to say that WIN7 will not meet the same nasty reality that XP did. If Microsoft can control the size of the operating system and minimize the cumbersome service packs and security patches, WIN7 will be a very good OS for business environments.

wilswong
wilswong

The main reason I would change to W7 is because there is something that I want to run that Windows XP can't. I have changed to openoffice and browsers that works well without the bulk and they all work superb under windows XP. I am still using CS2 and it can do nearly ALL of my post processing work. At this point in time, all points to games being the main reason. But I have grown weary about changing graphics card and hardware just to play games. It just couldn't cut it. So i am playing on consoles now (PS3 next when Gran Turismo is out next March). Therefore no compelling reason to change especially with experience talking, I would expect Service Pack 1 or even 2 to come out before I would consider. By then I would be getting a new DIY PC (sorry dell, lenovo etc) Who knows when I upgraded the PC, Ubuntu may take over the PC instead and I am not into installation packages. That speaks volumes. Oh..did i mention the price?

Jay Garmon
Jay Garmon

Contrary to what PC gamers think, console games are the cash cow of the gaming world, and all consoles still run DirectX 9, not the DirectX 11 of Windows 7. Thus, games will continue to be developed around DirectX 9 so they can be ported to consoles easily. Yes, some DirectX 11 goodies might be pasted onto PC versions of games -- particularly with the new hardware tessellation available -- but nothing mindblowing. It won't be until the next iteration of Xbox/Playstation consoles that DirectX 11 becomes a major staple of gaming graphics, so you're a year or so away from "gaming" being a serious reason to upgrade to Windows 7.

ocfixmypc
ocfixmypc

I count myself as one of the users who are looking forward to Windows 7. Most major manufacturers will no doubt be loading up Windows 7 on all their new models and pushing them out the door. As for Vista, I see it being slowly phased out as an option as it fades into the 'Millenium'. I also had problems installing and running Vista Ultimate until I reflashed my BIOS. Once that was done Vista installed and is happily running on my main PC which I use daily. Windows 7 will be gladly welcomed though albeit in about 6 months or so when the frenzy has passed and we get some actual feedback. I did however run the Windows 7 Beta successfully on the same PC with no issues whatsoever. If the OS does what it should this will be a big boost for Microsoft in recovering from the Vista let down. My only beef with Microsoft is the cost of the new OS which should be discounted to Vista Owners in order to appease them. Like Millenium, Vista was released way too early and perhaps should have been put off completely and just released Windows 7. Windows XP is as stable as it's going to be so why the rush? Hey Microsoft, you owe us Vista owners a discount for sticking with you.

JLVFR
JLVFR

I manage 150 PCs and servers. All PCs run XP and over a third don't have the specs to run W7. Add the following: -everything we have runs perfectly on XP; -none of us in IT has the W7 skills to install and manage it, specially in a network, so we'd have to invest in training (money, money, money...); -we'd have to buy 20-40 new PCs (money, money, money...) -W7 is out now... which means that it's bugs and incompatibilities will start showing *now*. Add all this, and what I get is "I'll wait 4-5 months before actively studying W7, and probably a year before really upgrading"...

SMparky
SMparky

I'm sure any IT person can figure out Windows 7 without a bunch of expensive training. The MS certifications are kind of a joke. "which of the following switches work with command line defrag?" was actually a sample question. Certification is good for people with no background knowledge, but I'll take an experienced IT person over a kid with certification. Yes, there are new features in W7 but with a bit of playing around and reading anyone with 1/2 a brain (myself included in that) should be able to implement any version of Windows.

JLVFR
JLVFR

I do want to upgrade, but not right now, for 3 simple reasons: -W7 just came out; I'll wait for the bugs to show up and get fixed before risking it; -I need to test it vs our apps; -I simply don't have time right now (am single IT admin for 150+ PCs and 20 servers...)

CaptMorgan
CaptMorgan

XP has been around a very long time, eventually all companies will need to move off it. After 7+ years on XP, maybe it's time to upgrade your PC's and your skills. I.T. is a profession of constant change and professional growth, you, or your company can't be stagnant. Another reason to change to Windows 7; increased security. XP is already rather old and somewhat outdated (= dangerous) without ongoing support, it will only get worse. Windows 7 might not be worthwhile for you today, but since you passed on Vista, and you passed on hardware upgrades for so long, it will be very difficult to pass on Windows 7 and those HW upgrades much longer, and wait until the next version of Windows. Maybe the Service Pack is what you need to wait for. Although, Windows 7 is in my opinion a giant service pack to Vista, and a pretty good replacement to XP.

JLVFR
JLVFR

I'm not refering to certifications, but stuff like: diferences in network conectivity, registry access that afects policies, security, etc. I (like many others) never did anything much on Vista, so going from XP to W7 half-cocked is a bit dangerous...

jerang@
jerang@

Most companies are so reluctant to move off XP ... really doubt this will jump start the PC industry just yet.

alienboone
alienboone

Why would you think that yet another version of Windows will refresh the PC market? It's just another operating system with things being put right that were wrong in it's previous versions. There is nothing new in this version as it does just the same things as previous versions did. This is the demise of Microsoft, they have lost the plot, as other major companies before them. i.e. IBM and other's.