Microsoft: Mum's the word on Windows 7

Tight-lipped approach will work only if the OS stays on schedule, says analyst

Microsoft Tuesday broke silence about the next edition of its flagship operating system, but essentially all it said is it would not talk publicly about Windows 7.

In both an entry posted to its Windows Vista blog and in an interview with CNet's News.com, Microsoft executives said they would have little to say about Windows 7, at least for now. That's a change from the past, particularly during the development of Vista.

"With Windows 7, we're trying to more carefully plan how we share information with our customers and partners," acknowledged Chris Flores, a director with the Windows Client communications team, in the blog post Tuesday. "This means sharing the right level of information at the right time depending on the needs of the audience."

Flores defended the closed-mouthed approach, saying that public disclosures were, not surprisingly, taken at face value by users and customers -- something that could present problems.

"We know that when we talk about our plans for the next release of Windows, people take action," Flores said. "As a result, we can significantly impact our partners and our customers if we broadly share information that later changes."

A pair of analysts agreed with Flores. "I'd rather know less information than have bad information out there," said Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft. "Talk about Windows Vista got us all excited, and people invested time and money in anticipation of features being there [in the final operating system] that weren't there."

"It's much better if they only discuss developments in private or not at all, [because] it's a bigger deal to users if they think something will be in [Windows 7] and then Microsoft misses the deadline for that feature," echoed Michael Silver of Gartner, pointing to what happened with Vista. "They talked more publicly about Vista, but in the end that didn't make them a lot of friends."

Microsoft was roundly criticized during the long run toward Vista for announcing several features -- among them a new storage subsystem, WinFS, that was dumped in 2004.

Neither Cherry or Silver, however, see the tighter control on Windows development news as a major problem, at least with those who need to know. "The key thing here is to think about the lead times that people need," said Cherry, talking about hardware partners, tools and application developers, and corporate customers, in that order. "Who are the parties who need to know [about Windows 7], what do they need to know, and when?"

Silver opined that it was important for Microsoft to keep Windows 7 talk to a minimum to prevent users from ditching Vista deployment plans. Too much chatter about the upcoming upgrade -- Microsoft's said that it is targeting a launch three years after Vista's, which would put it in the late 2009-early 2010 time frame -- might convince some corporate customers to just sit tight with Windows XP and skip Vista entirely.

"That's not good for Microsoft," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?