If rumors are correct, Windows 7, the next iteration of the flagship Microsoft client operating system will be publicly introduced at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in November of this year.
In order to avoid the public relations fiasco Windows Vista is today, Windows 7 must adhere to the following ten steps:
- Eliminate Scope Creep. This is the most insidious of problems to beset a promising OS. Instead of trying to make Windows 7 be all things to everyone, Windows 7 must remain within the box, and not try to be a everything to everyone.
- Stop SKU Creep. While having several SKUs is nothing new to Microsoft, the current number of SKUs are, at a minimum, confusing. At worst, they allow shameless OEMs to create barely functional system configurations and pass them off to consumers as standard, foisting the subsequent buyers’ angst at Microsoft.
- Declare atomic war on the failure perception FUD associated with Microsoft client OSs. Hopefully, Microsoft is ready to begin battle, and help us (partners) in the battle against the false failure perceptions regarding Windows Vista that we are engaged in. if the same amount of indifference is exhibited by Microsoft at the release of Windows 7, I fear that that OS would be Microsoft's last.
- Maintain a total news blackout. Really, can everyone at Microsoft shut up? For once? And in the process, ensure success for the OS, instead of leaking like a sieve?
- Stay away from the current love of Hollywood’s blockbuster-style marketing. Leading up to Windows Vista, there was innovative marketing, especially that engaging Vanishing Point Game, and the grand prize, a trip into near space. However, after the release of Windows Vista……nothing! Think that is a knee jerk? Try to register right now for any TechNet or MSDN event. None available. Isn’t that the way movies are marketed in Hollywood? While that might work for them, but not in IT. We have to bang the drum loudly and constantly. These guys need to wake up and realize that the competition is loud, and keeps advertising. We’ve all seen iPod ads recently When was the last time any of you saw a Zune™ ad?
- Under-promise and then over-deliver. So self explanatory it is not funny.
- Banish vague hardware requirements. The current Vista Capable lawsuit speaks to this, Microsoft needs to establish and maintain a very rigid hardware baseline for a rich Windows 7 experience. Furthermore, the dev teams should only use average, Vista Capable-class units for development, thereby forcing them to optimize the system.
- Announce sensible retail pricing. The current retail pricing scheme for Windows Vista could only have been created by a bean counter, not PMs. Coupled with user experience optimization on basic hardware, Windows 7 retail pricing needs to be normalized to real world prices in order to encourage a vast retail upgrade by users.
- Solve the issue of a lack of a multi-license SKU. Strangely, this no-brainer is beyond the comprehension of the top brass at 1, Microsoft Way, in Redmond! The ubiquity of multi-PC homes on Planet Earth positively cries out for this. Apple gets it. Why doesn’t Microsoft?
- Grow some Social media smarts. In my interactions with Microsoft, only a handful of Microserfs get Social Media. How crazy is this? This squandering of a golden opportunity to not only participate, but ultimately shape the perception of Microsoft products is tantamount to a crime!
(This is a reprint from the July 2008 issue of The Interlocutor)