Microsoft and Mickey Rourke have more in common than you might think. Both went from being desirable to being painfully tolerated in an instant and both are now poised to make huge comeback. At this point we’re even giving slightly better odds to Windows 7 over The Wrestler, following the massive demand for Microsoft’s first publicly available 7 beta. Oh, and Windows install discs are made of plastic, just like Rourke. As announced by Ballmer during his keynote at CES, Redmond made Windows 7 available to the world yesterday, for free, but many have noticed that all download links have mysteriously disappeared from the 7 page. Did Microsoft change its mind? Of course not — it did hugely underestimate the demand for its upcoming OS however and the mass of PC users eager to check out the OS so many have been praising proved to be a bit too much for Microsoft’s servers to handle. Don’t worry folks, if you didn’t get there quickly enough to snag your copy of the ISO it should only be a short while now before it goes live again. Microsoft is working overtime beefing up the Microsoft.com infrastructure so it can handle the rush a bit more smoothly and once all of the Tetris blocks are in place, downloading can resume. Sure, it’s hard to say Microsoft is on the brink of a comeback since the company still owns over 89% of the computer OS market, but its Vista-scarred image will no doubt benefit from the homerun Windows 7 is hoping to hit.
So let it be written, so let it be done. During Steve Ballmer’s decidedly humdrum keynote yesterday evening, the Microsoft CEO made several announcements that were less than surprising. In fact, the majority of Ballmer’s key points were leaked earlier this week. One simple statement however, has the tech blogosphere buzzing and rightfully so. That statement: “I’m thrilled to announce the availability of the Windows 7 beta.” Despite the fact that everyone and their 10-year-old torrent-traversing nephew has already gotten their hands on unofficial builds of Microsoft’s upcoming revival OS, the beta release of 7 marks the start of what is looking like a huge (HUGE) turning point for Microsoft. It’s not exactly a state secret that Vista has been a low point for the company; love it or hate it, the OS has a negative stigma that has been a blemish on Redmond since Vista was first previewed. With each passing day and each new mention of Windows 7, the dark and dingy room that Microsoft had been trapped in gets a bit brighter. Rumors of July upgrade availablility are one thing, but the official public release of the Windows 7 beta is big, big stuff. When it becomes available tomorrow, anyone with a PC and about 45 free minutes (yup, it can be installed in as little as 45 minutes) should download Windows 7 from http://www.microsoft.com/windows7 – you can be sure we will.
According to a report this morning from Techarp, Microsoft may be making Windows 7 upgrades available a bit sooner than expected. Beginning July 1 of this year, Microsoft will supposedly be providing an affordable upgrade option to all Vista users. A similar move was made during the XP – Vista transition in an effort to encourage PC purchases during the months leading up to a new OS release. While a rocky launch and a harsh stigma prevented resulted in the general refusal of the upgrade option for Vista, a similar Windows 7 program would likely be welcomed with open arms. Since the Windows 7 beta leaked onto the internet recently, the upcoming Microsoft OS has been widely acclaimed despite its early beta status. Tremendous speed and stability improvements have been reported along a host of other enhancements that should distance Windows 7 from its whipping-boy predecessor, Vista. It just goes to show you – advertising is a great and necessary tool but actions speak far louder than words. Say you have a great OS and someone might believe you. Build a great OS and your product can do the talking.
[Via Silicon Alley Insider]
This is definitely not what Microsoft had in mind when it launched its recent $300mm ad campaign. In what can only be described as a coup for distributors, Microsoft has given in to the pressure and extended XP’s stay of execution. Redmond has indeed confirmed that January 31, 2009 is no longer the end of the road for XP PC sales. Instead, January 31 is now the final date on which distributors can place orders for Windows XP OEM licenses and orders can be filled through May 30 of next year. For you, the end user, this means that Vista will not be your only Windows OS option for new PC purchases in the coming year as XP-powered PCs will be available for many months to come. This is no doubt viewed as a major check in the loss column within Microsoft – the company has been pushing Vista in full force lately in the hopes that it might reverse the negative connotations carried forth by Apple’s marketing and the bad tastes left behind from a bumpy launch. On the bright side of things, Microsoft can likely look forward to some massive XP license orders in early Q1 2009 that will help get its calendar year off to a flying start. Sure this likely isn’t Microsoft’s optimal situation but hey, in this day and age beggars can’t be choosers.
Microsoft higher-ups might not exactly be shaking in their boots upon hearing this news, but market research firm Net Applications has just released new information that puts the Windows OS market share at its lowest point in 15 years. That low point – 89.62%. Yes, Microsoft still holds the overwhelming lion’s share of the computer OS market and that most definitely won’t be changing any time soon. Since 2004 when Net Applications began OS market share data however, Microsoft’s market share has been steadily declining. Windows reportedly had an astounding 96.4% of the OS market in October of 2004 when Net Applications’ first report on the subject was issued. In other words, Microsoft is losing an average of 1.7% of the market each year, a trend that it certainly hopes to reverse with its recent advertising campaign and eventually with the release of Windows 7. An interesting related note – Vista currently holds approximately 20.45%, up 2.12% over the past three months. Microsoft’s recent ad campaigns have been going strong during that period so this may appear to be a small victory until XP’s market share loss of 2.36% over the same period is considered. As for Microsoft’s largest competitor, Apple’s market share now sits at 8.87% up from 6.80% in November of last year and 3.2% in November of 2004 when the first Net Applications OS report was published.
The gauntlet has been thrown down and Microsoft is making it pretty clear that they’re not going to be bullied around by Apple’s advertising tactics. In England at least. Apparently, these booths aren’t just advertisements, but they’re also interactive booths. From AppleInsider:
“It’s a friggin booth where you can record your own I’m a PC video,” he said. “This is outside the Apple Store, Bullring, Birmingham, England.” He added that a trio of Microsoft staffers will be on hand to turn patrons off from the Mac for the next three days.
Microsoft staffers will be there goal-tending! Wow, this is a pretty gutsy move. One would think this is just asking for it – how can things not get intense or even hostile? Of course, it’s perfectly legal for Microsoft to put these booths right in front of Apple stores, but talk about taking it to their house and just invading their turf – ballsy! Steve Ballmer and all his buddies aren’t holding back and are pulling all the stops. What do you guys think? Good idea, bad idea? Let us know!
Microsoft is a company that takes a lot of heat from the public. Sure the Northwest giant may have made some tiny mistakes in the past, but it really does have its customers’ best interest at heart! Take the security update Microsoft issued earlier this week. If you think about it, Tuesday’s KB951748 security update is the most secure patch Microsoft has ever issued in its long and storied history. What’s the best way to ensure that Windows 2000 / XP users don’t come across any malicious code on the web or in their email? Kill their internet connection. Brilliant! Of course there is the slight chance that this end result wasn’t Microsoft’s intention. Perhaps they were merely trying to address the DNS issue discovered a few months ago and reported at length, and they screwed the pooch. The problem might just be that Microsoft has never heard of a little software firewall called ZoneAlarm. We can’t blame them though; it is after all, the most popular software firewall in the world. Countless Windows 2000 and XP users ran into quite a problem between Tuesday and today when a conflict between Microsoft’s security update and the popular firewall software resulted in the inability to access the internet. Mmm. Greatest line ever:
A spokesman for Microsoft said PC owners were not contacting it about any problems the update caused.
Hmm, perhaps that’s because they can’t get on the internet to contact you! After all, no one is dumb enough to try to call Microsoft Support anymore. Luckily CheckPoint has issued an update for ZoneAlarm already so Microsoft need not worry about cleaning up its mess. Note that PC users with the free version of ZoneAlarm may have to download and install the latest build manually. So what’s the deal Microsoft? Bill retires and the whole place goes to, umm, poop?
In a sign that proves just how much the general public dislikes Windows Vista, Dell has announced that they have postponed their kill date for Windows XP from today until June 26th. Interested consumers can still purchase an XP-laden Dell system until 7 AM Eastern time on the 26th, after which point Vista will be your only Microsoft OS option. The extension only applies to three versions of Dell’s Inspiron 530, as well as the XPS 630. If you’ve been thinking about a grabbing a Dell, and hate Windows Vista, we suggest you head on over to the company’s site quickly, as time is most certainly running out.