Windows 7: One year old and just getting started

At one year old, Windows 7 has been a huge success -- and it seems like it is just starting to gain momentum.

Happy birthday! Windows 7 is one year old. Microsoft has sold more than 240 million copies of Windows 7 (an average of more than seven units per second for the entire year the OS has been available), but it still has a way to go to eclipse Windows XP. Fortunately for Microsoft, as successful as Windows 7 has been, it appears to be gaining momentum.

A post on the Windows for your Business Blog explains, "There are 1.2 billion PCs in the worldwide ecosystem and PC sales have rebounded with Windows 7 as a key driver. According to IDC, there was 4.15 per cent global PC unit growth in 2009, with nearly 17 per cent growth expected for 2010, and sustained growth continuing at a rate of nearly 13 per cent in 2011."

Microsoft's Rich Reynolds also notes in the post that the future is looking pretty bright for Windows 7 adoption above and beyond new PC sales. Forrester claims that the number of IT managers deploying Windows 7 on new PCs will increase to 83 per cent within one year, and an IDC study finds that 89 per cent of surveyed companies plan to move forward with migrating to Windows 7 over the next two years -- 64 per cent have migrations underway now, or plan to make the switch in the next six months.

While Microsoft would certainly appreciate getting everyone off of Windows XP, and the revenue and profit that will be generated from selling a few hundred million more Windows 7 licenses, that is hardly a compelling justification for organizations to get on the Windows 7 bandwagon. However, saving money and boosting productivity are very valid business justifications for abandoning the legacy Windows XP and embracing Windows 7.

Reynolds says, "Customers are clearly finding the ability to take cost out of their environment. We've done extensive internal studies with several companies to get a better idea of actual TCO, including British Airport Authority (BAA), National Instruments (NI), City of Stockholm, Baker Tilly, City of Miami and Getronics. The average savings is $140 per PC per year and the average ROI is 131 per cent in just over 12 months. We've also seen very specific TCO data related to deployment with an average savings of $12-61 per desktop."

Features like Jump Lists and the Aero Snap interface seem trivial...until you start using them. Windows 7 enables users to find information faster and work more efficiently, which translates to higher productivity that impacts the bottom line. The Problem Steps Recorder reduces the time and effort required for IT to troubleshoot issues, and can be used to proactively record tutorials to help educate users as well.

Those are just a couple examples that set Windows 7 apart from Windows XP. Security is another major consideration -- Windows XP was developed a decade ago before many of today's exploits and threats even exists, and Windows 7 has vastly superior security controls.

Windows 7 has had a good first year, but let's check back when Windows 7 turns two and see whether it has yet surpassed Windows XP in market share.

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Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
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