Microsoft Cranks Up Windows 7 Marketing Machine

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Monday Microsoft said it would release its Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2009 R2 late next month to help organizations migrate to the upcoming Windows 7 -- right around the Oct. 22 scheduled availability of Windows 7 and much earlier than the original release date of early 2010.

The company also released information about several early Windows 7 deployments the company said demonstrated the total cost of ownership (TCO) advantages of implementing Windows 7.

Last week Microsoft released the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010, a "solution accelerator" that IT managers will use to deploy Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. A release candidate of the toolkit debuted in August, but the final version was not expected until after the Oct. 22 rollout of Windows 7.

Microsoft's overall message: We're not waiting and neither should you.

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MDOP 2009 R2 will help IT managers migrate desktops from older versions of Windows such as XP and Vista to Windows 7 and deploy applications on the new desktop OS. It will include tools for application virtualization, advanced group policy management and governance, diagnostics and recovery, and desktop error monitoring, said Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft senior director of Windows product management, in an interview.

Schuster also posted a blog Monday about the MDOP toolkit plans in which she called MDOP "an essential part of your Windows 7 planning and deployment strategy."

The one item MDOP 2009 R2 will not immediately offer for Windows 7 is Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) which is slated for the first calendar quarter of 2010.

Microsoft made Windows 7 available on Aug. 7 to its volume license customers who subscribe to Software Assurance and the vendor is starting to promote the results of those early customer deployments.

Early adopters include Baker Tilly, a professional services company in the U.K.; Getronics, an IT services company in the Netherlands; and the City of Miami in the U.S.

Based on the experience of those and other companies, Microsoft said adoption of Windows 7 could reduce IT labor costs between 10 and 20 percent or between $70 and $160 per PC annually. Baker Tilly is already realizing PC management cost savings of 18 percent, said Ward Ralston, group product manager for the Windows Server Division, in an interview.

Ralston also said that Miami is realizing the power savings equivalent of $54 per PC per year using Windows 7.