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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 doesn't MS want to build up our expectations

Microsoft was roundly criticised during the long run up toward Vista's release for announcing several features – among them a new storage subsystem, dubbed WinFS, that was dumped in 2004.

Neither Cherry nor 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, what do they need to know, and when?"

Silver said that it was important for Microsoft to keep Windows 7 talk to a minimum to prevent users from cancelling plans to upgrade to Vista. Too much discussion about the next version of Windows – which is due in 2009 or 2010 – is already convincing customers to sit tight with Windows XP and skip Vista entirely.

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

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Of the 674 Windows die-hards who answered PC Advisor's online poll in May, asking which version of the OS they'd want installed on their next PC or laptop, just 27 percent chose Windows Vista, while 40 percent went for Windows 7. The remaining 33 percent picked Windows XP.

"Part of the problem is that people haven't believed what Microsoft's scheduled," said Cherry. "Whether the development is happening publicly or privately, it doesn't matter if you don't get the schedule right."

Will the new tactic of keeping the lid on work? Cherry isn't sure.

"The question is, does an approach that works with Microsoft Office, which has a much smaller developer base, work with something as large as a general-purpose OS?" Cherry asked.

Steven Sinofsky, the Microsoft senior vice president who heads Windows development, had headed Office development previously, and was well-known for running a team that didn't disclose many details about its current work. "I don't know the answer, but we'll find out with Windows 7, won't we?" Cherry said.

  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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