Microsoft’s Last Chance

The last few years have been brutal for Microsoft. With ad campaigns from that other company openly slashing Microsoft in a virtual flurry of half-truths, misinformation and innuendo, and its flagship OS almost universally loathed despite its obvious technical superiority to Windows XP, Microsoft needs a win.

But Microsoft’s biggest competitor isn’t Linux, Mac or any other operating system on the verge of becoming mainstream. Nope, it is Windows XP and Microsoft needs to convince those running the 8-year-old operating that the time has finally come to replace it. In fact, an estimated 71 per cent of businesses still use XP to conduct business and a large portion of these have openly stated that they have no plans to upgrade to Vista. But, then again, why would they?

Just two weeks ago, Bill Veghte, Microsoft’s senior vp for Windows business, told enterprise class businesses that if they have just started testing Vista for deployment, they should instead switch to the Windows 7 release candidate and skip Vista entirely.

Clearly, Microsoft has started to understand the position they are in. Let’s face it – Windows Vista, with all of the negative press it received in its infancy, can never recover despite the “thousands of improvements” its service packs have provided.  Truthfully, Windows 7 isn’t so different from its predecessor architecturally, but its fit, finish, and polish, and the manner in which it is being rolled out, seems to point to it being a winner.  The addition of Windows XP virtual mode is a nice addition too, just to bring those sitting on the fence onboard.

Should Windows 7 not workout for Microsoft, their future would appear to be fairly bleak. One has to ask the question – where are those 71 per cent of businesses to go? No Vista? No Windows 7? No additional revenue from Windows XP??

Unfortuantely, no one has the answer here, but with the increasing strength of companies like Google and their cloud computing initiatives, aggressive advertising by Mac, and the aura of strength radiating out of the Ubuntu camp….I would say Microsoft only has one last go at the game!

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