A reply to Open Bytes – The 7 question

As readers will be aware in the past we have asked questions in regards to Microsoft products to many users.  The results have varied, I have been blocked, ignored and/or called a troll.  Even questions that were forwarded to Microsoft directly (on instruction of an MS employee) were not anwered.

This time it is different.  I am sure Mr Rose (who I mentioned in a previous article found here:https://openbytes.wordpress.com/2009/06/13/a-question-to-microsoft-whats-unique-about-windows-7/ ) will know he is not going to convince me to change to Windows, any more than I will be able to get him to champion Linux.  That being said, he has proved a comprehensive reply which puts the alternative view to Linux.  I believe this should have an article of its own and not simply space in the comments section.   So without further ado, here is the reply of Mr Rose:

I think you make some great points here. Windows XP was released back in 2001. Mobility was not key factor as it is now. Malware, spyware and rootkits were also not an issue like they are today.

As we all know, many of our users did not move to Windows Vista for a number of reasons, so many corporations stayed with Windows XP and through much work, have made it an excellent operating system for their end users. Before joining Microsoft last year, I spent the last 10 years managing networks like this. I have been an MCSE and a MCT since the NT 4.0 days. I taught engineers in the classrooms and spent many a week freezing my butt of in server rooms installing Apache web servers, Groupwise, Lotus Notes Novel Netware and Microsoft OSes.

With Windows 7, what is great is there is no one “killer feature”. It is the culmination of many features (some large, some small) that makes Windows 7 a great operating system. Most end users don’t want to know how it works, they just “want it to work.”

When they are sitting in a Starbucks working connected to public internet, they fact they can click a link in a document that points to a corporate intranet sharepoint server and they are able to download a document without having to go through a long and involved RAS process due to the implementation of Direct Access . Seamless and transparent.

When a user walks into the office and has a 20 MB document download is seconds due to BranchCache makes that user more effective.

When a user is prompted to encrypt a thumbdrive so that any data on it is secure makes the job of a security manager easier.

When a user gets a faster boot up, more batter life, jump lists to access documents faster, quicker connectivity to wireless, built in drivers to WiFi cards, search connectors to find internal and external resources, when they can drag a window to the right and have it automatically resize, when it comes out of sleep quickly and is ready to go and home groups so that home users can stream video, share photos or print to printers at the other end of their house with needing to be technical are all wins for the end user..

Sure, you can do some of this with XP, plug-ins and such. Who has that kind of time? Do I want to sit and create an image with 30 different tools that constantly require updating, that may not be supported, that have additional costs, that cannot be centrally managed, and were possibly written non-securely? Of course not. What IT pros would? Some would argue that they do not want one company doing all of that and controlling it. That diversity of product creates a better experience. If you buy an off the shelf computer that is a complete, ready to go experience that will do what an end user wants, some people will shun this experience and will choose to build their own for a more customized experience.

Will you get a better machine? Depends on your definition of better. More things to go wrong and no single coverage. You cannot return that machine and there are possible incompatibilities. Each person has their own yardstick.

We have had millions of downloads around the Beta and Release Candidate. Tons of great feedback and a lot of excitement around this launch. This is the first OS from Microsoft in a long time that requires less hard drive space, RAM and Processor power than its predecessor. People are very excited. We are trying to make the best OS for many different types of users from consumers and students to tech enthusiasts to developers and IT pros of all ages. We are always open to new ideas, thoughts and ways to make our operating systems better.

We encourage all users to download the Windows 7 Release Candidate from http://www.microsoft.com/springboard and try it for themselves for free and what you think.

Best Regards-
Stephen Rose
Sr Community Manager
Microsoft, Corp.

Very nice reply, and true to his word he has highlighted some of the benefits he sees as being the compelling reasons for a 7 purchase.  I am sure this debate with Mr Rose could go on for months, but I appreciate he has a job to do and will probably not have the time to enter a lengthy discussion with this small blog.  I will put my views about his points and then open it up to everyone else.

Malware, spyware and rootkits were also not an issue like they are today.” –

A point that whilst true does beg the question, isnt Microsoft able to secure XP?  As I understood it, XP will have security updates for a good few yeare, are Microsoft saying that Mcaffee and other provides of security software are not effective anymore?  Have we now reached a point where Microsoft is saying “We can’t secure previous versions of Windows”?

With Windows 7, what is great is there is no one “killer feature”. It is the culmination of many features (some large, some small) that makes Windows 7 a great operating system. Most end users don’t want to know how it works, they just “want it to work.”

An excellent point, and on a separate note, I believe this feeling in users had led to a de-skilling of sorts in the coding world (just look at the amount of libraries/devkits etc available) but thats another subject!  On the relation of the OS, I agree too and its one of the reasons that I believe Windows has become so bloated in the first place and why I am concerned that if one Linux distro gets migration from Windows over all others, the same would happen.

“When they are sitting in a Starbucks working connected to public internet, they fact they can click a link in a document that points to a corporate intranet sharepoint server and they are able to download a document without having to go through a long and involved RAS process due to the implementation of Direct Access . Seamless and transparent.”

Openbox?  Ubuntu One?  They are two solutions that can be free and allow the sharing of documents you suggest (depending on how much space you need) Or what about “Go To My PC”?  Thats available for XP now, and its not a beta or an RC for an OS yet to get to the store shelves.    There are plenty more options available, and whilst Microsoft may have given it a new name, IMO its an old feature that many of us have been using for a while (and not even with Windows)


Sure, you can do some of this with XP, plug-ins and such. Who has that kind of time? Do I want to sit and create an image with 30 different tools that constantly require updating, that may not be supported, that have additional costs, that cannot be centrally managed, and were possibly written non-securely? Of course not. What IT pros would?”

Well, it appears the one who commented in the original article is one and to be fair, so would I.   lets say DirectAccess was a must have feature for me, I would much rather stick with XP (mature and stable) and rely on say Goto My PC, which again is quite mature, then rely on ANY OS/feature that is yet to hit the shelves.  Thats just me though.  Maybe others disagree.  If we were having this conversation after 7 had been out for a couple of years, things may be different.

The suggestion that about 3rd party software is a little rich IMO (in respect of security), when you compare IE and its issues to Firefox (for example)

We have had millions of downloads around the Beta and Release Candidate. Tons of great feedback and a lot of excitement around this launch. This is the first OS from Microsoft in a long time that requires less hard drive space, RAM and Processor power than its predecessor”

Yes, but so it should since if you look at what an OS is supposed to do 7 is no different to XP (IMO).   Whilst I thank Mr Rose for the time he has taken, his answer (IMO) is typical of Microsoft and why in my opinion they just “cant get it”.  To me, the purpose of an OS is to run as quietly and unassumingly as possible in the background whilst acting as a platform for other software to run.  It should not be used as a sales platform for more products, and maybe if Microsoft had considered that in many cases 3rd party software could be used, Windows would not be the bloated package it is today.  When you can get a net ready OS in less that 50meg, what execuse does MS have for the sorts of sizes we are seeing today?    But thats a different topic.

. People are very excited. We are trying to make the best OS for many different types of users from consumers and students to tech enthusiasts to developers and IT pros of all ages. We are always open to new ideas, thoughts and ways to make our operating systems better.”

This is the only part of the response which I strongly challenge.  Microsoft, in my experience “average users” don’t understand or want another Windows version.  In my experience they have either downgraded to XP or learned to live with the issues of Vista. For Enterprise they have their pro’s that will make decisions based on their firms requirements.  But what about the home user?

I put it to Microsoft that “pro’s” want the flexibility of choice and customization, which is why out of the box “answers to everything” are not always what is required and for the home user there appears to be nothing suggested that gives compelling reasons for an upgrade (IMO)  If Directaccess (for example) is so vital, they will already be doing it now with 3rd party software and when 7 hits the shelves will they want to re-invest in something they can already do/use?

I think most 7 sales will come via OEM, but with the EU and its anti-trust issues, will Windows still be deployed in the same way over here?  Since home upgrading of the home PC is very popular (choice/flexibility again Microsoft) I am still at a loss to see what the compelling feature(s) are that are on offer and in respect of the home user, how much faith will they put in compelling reasons from Microsoft after Vista?

I thank Mr Rose for his reply, and leave it with users to look at both our cases and make their own decision.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com


10 Comments Add yours

  1. openbytes says:

    From what Ive seen, bad experiences of Win 7 get the response of “its not finished yet” and the good ones “that shows how great Win 7 is”
    (Or words to those effects)

    I hope then for this user:

    it gets sorted out.

    His experience of Win 7:

    “Nvidia performance in Win7 is baaaad! my video performance is choppy and slow inspite of latest drivers! :((”

    Is this one of those “compelling features” we hear about?

    1. Will says:

      Kind of like how, when a random hardware device doesn’t work under Windows, some people will correctly blame the hardware vendor for not providing proper drivers for Windows, yet if the hardware device doesn’t yet work under Linux, the same people would blame Linux for being an incompatible OS.

  2. openbytes says:

    Agreed, its whatever rule suits those that support Microsoft.

  3. Andrew says:

    The earlier betas of win7 were (IMO) faster and less bloated. The closer win7 gets to RTM the bigger and slower it gets.

  4. openbytes says:

    I read a comment a while back which said the same thing….its that special Microsoft “fixing” they do at the end.

    1. Andrew says:

      If it was FOSS, we would know just what that “fixing” would be.

  5. openbytes says:

    Very true…unfortunately Microsoft don’t seem to want people looking at their code….come to think of it, after Vista I’m not surprised. If I’d written that I don’t think I would want to show anyone either.

    Regards
    Goblin

  6. Tim says:

    Hmmm…. Are you a Troll??🙂

    Seriously though I find it increasingly difficult to trust anything Microsoft says. Before the release of Vista it was labelled as the next big thing in fighting spyware etc…. But in reality its useless.

    So much so that Microsoft now delve deeper into the security market themselves. I can’t help thinking that Linux is looking more and more attractive.

  7. openbytes says:

    Hi Tim!

    Am I a troll? Only when the MS Faithful get stuck for things to say!

    I think the skill in Microsoft’s Windows security is highlighted by the amount of 3rd party software houses who make a living off creating software to prevent MS users having issues (IMO)

    I personally think Linux has always been the more attractive system, however Windows has the financial backing of MS and the “small voice” has, until recently found it difficult to get past the noise of the freeloaders and people income dependent on Windows/Microsoft (IMO)

    Remember the free laptops to bloggers from Microsoft? How can Linux as a platform compete with that? Maybe it is because of tactics like this that it is only now when the average user is more “tech savvy” than before, that issues Windows has are a little clearer. Or maybe its just that after Vista people are fed up and not prepared to buy into PR anymore?

    Welcome, great talking with you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s