Windows 7: it’s all good so far

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The vibes surrounding the Windows 7 launch seem to be all positive. The reviews have been good overall and the response seems to be encouraging for Microsoft. My two-bits about the launch and prospects in India:

1. India is still predominantly a Windows XP base. While the OS is positively ancient, many businesses and individuals have not found anything hugely wrong with it. Several businesses have not opted for an upgrade to Vista and hence run lower-end machines on XP. Upgrading from an XP involves backup and a clean install. While individuals maybe tempted to put up with the upgrade hassle, will businesses follow suit? It involves time and cost (hardware upgrades).

2. I have used Vista on my wife’s laptop and I thought the vitriol reserved for it was unwarranted. Sure, the launch version had it’s issues – sluggishness, compatibility with hardware and so on. But the updates thereafter resolved most of the issues, so it wasn’t all bad. The point being – for those who are satisfied with Vista, is the Windows 7 offering compelling enough to switch? At a cost of $120? Sure, there are tweaks to the interface and there are some bells & whistles added – is that good enough reason for an upgrade from Vista?

3. OK, I am not going to put on my ‘Apple fan’ hat and say that all that is offered in Windows 7 is pretty much common affair for OS X users (there, I said it). When Apple offered Snow Leopard – an upgrade from Leopard – the retail price was $30.

4. Windows 7 does not offer many of the software that usually come free with an OS. David Pogue says:

Finally, out of fear of antitrust headaches, Microsoft has stripped Windows 7 of some important accessory programs. Believe it or not, software for managing photos, editing videos, reading PDF documents, maintaining a calendar, managing addresses, chatting online or writing e-mail doesn’t come with Windows 7.

It’s not a big deal as far as email is concerned – many of us are perfectly OK using web-based email programmes. But getting people in India to download the other software maybe an irritant, given the lack of broadband speeds in India. Each of the programmes weigh in terms of size and getting people up and going with them through downloads maybe a problem in India. And um er… did I tell you that new Macs come with iLife  – with fantastic apps for managing photos, music and editing videos?

Overall, I think Windows 7 will be warmly welcomed in India. Microsoft enjoys a pre-eminent position in India and the halo around the brand is perhaps the strongest here. I read somewhere that among the Top 10 tech companies talked about on the web in India, Apple doesn’t even feature. Personally, I am looking forward to testing Windows 7 on my wife’s laptop. Are you planning for an upgrade too?

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