I know people will disagree, citing the apparent effort Microsoft put into those dopey launch parties and other consumer promotions, but the difficulty of upgrading from XP to Windows 7 makes it a difficult sell.
There was no real excitement, no real surprises at the Windows 7 launch yesterday in New York. And that's OK.
For consumers and many small businesses, Windows 7 is the operating system that will come on their next PC. Will the new OS convince customers to upgrade to new hardware for the holidays? Will it uncork pent-up demand?
That probably depends more on the economy than anything else, which is a win for Microsoft after many customers went out of their way to avoid Vista. If you need a new computer, Windows 7 seems a safe choice.
How do we know? Because Windows 7 is so well known, and user-tested, that there was little for Microsoft to say at the launch. The new OS was even widely available ahead of yesterday's event.
For business, Microsoft is pushing upgrades. And it appears it will get them. IT departments are not as shy about reformatting disks and reloading applications as consumers.
Still, I have talked to a number of small businesses that see no reason to upgrade--no compelling features--and will wait. Presumably until their XP hardware finally dies. Or until Windows 7 SP1 is released, whichever comes first.
From a consumer perspective, Windows 7 is an improved "Vista Lite" OS. For enterprises, it improves on both XP and Vista and adds new features. It shows that Microsoft learned from it Vista mistakes and dialed back the glitz in favor of building a more useful OS than either XP or Vista.
The #1 Goal of Windows 7 is to not be another Windows Vista and, so far, it has succeeded. Microsoft wisely sacrificed surprise and hoopla for confidence and trust, which Windows 7 is well on its way to building.