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Microsoft Windows 7: your questions answered

Vista's sucessor: when it's coming, what we know

Following Microsoft's announcement of the release of Windows 7, we find out just what the Windows Vista successor will be like and, more importantly, when it will be available.

Why is Microsoft playing it so close to the chest on Windows 7?

As we've discussed over the previous pages, Microsoft recently finally broke its silence about the successor to Windows Vista – currently codenamed Windows 7 – but revealed that it will be "more careful" in the way it releases information about its next flagship operating system (OS).

While the company did demonstrate the new multitouch feature of the OS (see boxout on page xx), executives also made it clear that they would not be announcing new components of the platform on a regular basis. In fact, in a posting to its Windows Vista blog, Microsoft executives said they would have little to say about Windows 7 for some time – 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," said Chris Flores, a director with the Windows Client communications teamin the blog post.

"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 consumers and business users – 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."

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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 Vista got us all excited, and people invested time and money in anticipation of features being there [in the final OS] that weren't there."

"It's much better if it only discusses 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," added Gartner's Michael Silver. "Microsoft talked more publicly about Vista, but that didn't make it a lot of friends."

NEXT PAGE: the curse of great expectations

  1. What will Windows 7 be like?
  2. More Windows 7 information
  3. Will Windows 7 be a major or a minor release?
  4. Why Windows 7 gets the silent treatment
  5. The curse of great expectations

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