The Future of Windows

Almost two years after Microsoft released Windows Vista to the corporate world, it has become quite clear that Microsoft is dealing with serious perception problems surrounding its longest-standing product. During the past few months the company has spent millions on a marketing campaign battling poor Vista perceptions with some arguable success, and it has now brought Service Pack 2 into beta testing in preparation for shaking the last kinks out of this latest OS iteration.

But many analysts and pundits wonder whether the only way out for Microsoft’s flagship is its next release, Windows 7. Speculation begins in earnest now as the Redmond hierarchy releases its highly anticipated sneak peek into Windows 7 at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC), so Baseline is taking an in-depth look at Windows and its future prospects.

Unfortunately, much of Microsoft’s challenge right now is overcoming perceptions of Vista—that it is not a success financially…, but also from a technology perspective,” says Paul Thurrott, a noted author on Windows and the owner of the SuperSite for Windows. “I think that the big thing that [Microsoft is] really trying to get done in this release in a general sense is just proving that it can ship something quickly that is of high quality and is demonstratively better than the previous version.”

“If Vista were just a standalone operating system [OS], where you’re just playing with it on your desktop, it would be great. It has better security, it has more features, it has faster search engine and a nice GUI,”  says Laura Didio, principal and analyst for Information Technology Intelligence Corp. “Now the problem is, when you start adding all of those features, it can be complex.”