Windows 7 and Windows Vista share much of the same code, and over time, this could cause Windows Vista bashers to soften their views, said Steve Guggenheimer, vice president of the OEM division at Microsoft.
"I think people will look back on Vista after the Windows 7 release and realize that there were actually a bunch of good things there," Guggenheimer said in a recent interview. "So it'll actually be interesting to see in two years what the perception is of Vista."
Windows 7 features vastly improved performance and stability, as well as a lightweight design that allows it to run well on smaller devices such as netbooks. All of these were issues for early Vista users, and although Microsoft corrected these in Vista Service Pack 1, they caused lasting damage to Vista's reputation.
Despite Windows 7's improvements, however, companies that have standardized on Vista may not upgrade right away, according to Guggenheimer. "We believe there will be a reasonably fast transition to Windows 7 for some because it's a very easy upgrade. I do think there will be scenarios where Vista will be important," he said.
Bob Nitrio, president of system builder Ranvest Associates, an Orangevale, Calif.-based solution provider, agrees with the notion that the industry will come to appreciate the heritage of Windows 7 given the significant improvement it represents. Still, he doesn't believe organizations that skipped Vista will ever regret their decision.
"I don't think for a second that people are suddenly going to love Windows 7 so much that they will experience deep pangs of regret for not having adopted Vista," said Nitrio.
Added Nitrio: "Of course, a parent's love for their child usually runs deep. But outside the Microsoft family, the majority of people will be glad to see Vista join other unloved Microsoft 'children' like Microsoft Bob and Windows ME."
For his part, Guggenheimer acknowledged that Windows 7's continued success won't appease every hard-core Vista detractor, and that down the road some lingering resentment may remain. "I'm sure there will be some connotation left over from all the [Vista] challenges, but there will also be some positive connotations that come off the table with Windows 7, based on how well it does," he said.
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