So you know that line in the movies where the magician says “pick a card, any card”?
Well, Microsoft sales and marketing employees need to learn how to make a variation of those words work.
“Pick an Operating System, any Operating System”.
At this point, Microsoft have said that Windows 8 will come out in 2012. If that is true, it means that on the day it comes out, Microsoft clients will have 5 choices available to pick from as their OS of choice.
- Windows XP
- Windows Vista
- Windows 7
- Windows 8
- Windows 9
Windows 9? Why, whatever do you mean by that you ask?
Well the fact of the matter is that (Since Windows Vista), as soon as Microsoft release an Operating System, all responsible businesses have to ask themselves this question “Should I wait for the next one?”.
Windows 9 will become a factor the day Windows 8 is released. Not my rules, just the way the game is played.
Anyway, in 2012, it seems that the sales pitch will be Windows 7 is the path to Windows 8. The problem is that for a lot of businesses, it’s not that simple.
As we know, there are a bunch of businesses on Windows XP and they need to upgrade at some point but they have 3 years to do so – so what’s the rush for them? In a year or 2, does Microsoft encourage them to go to Windows 7 or Windows 8?
There are businesses on Windows Vista right now and of course it makes sense to move to Windows 7 BUT after going through that, do they have to start planning on moving to Windows 8 or should they wait for Windows 9?
Then we have the businesses on Windows 7 (the good clients). Have you used Windows 7? It’s fantastic – heck these companies have just spent time and money retrofitting their legacy apps, getting off XP and training all their users.
Oh, you want them to move to Windows 8? Probably not for a while, besides “Should they wait for the next one?”. Also, what’s going to prevent these clients from nestling in and doing the Windows XP dance – i.e. stay with the one you love forever?
Then, we have the messaging for Windows 9. Remember that Microsoft still have to make software and the development will turn to Windows 9. By 2014, there will be a discussion of the benefits of Windows 9 and some clients on XP (yes some will be on Windows XP even then) will be asking “Can we have that?”.
This is enough to make your head spin because it really is a mess.
Here’s where I think the problem began – Windows Vista.
Because of the quick rush to turn the page from Vista, Steven Sinofsky was given the mandate to make a replacement OS quickly. He did (in about 2 years) and the result was an amazing success – Windows 7.
Problem is, it seems that because that worked, Microsoft want to turn right around and briskly crank out another OS.
As you can see from all of the above, there are messaging consequences.
I think that 2012 is too early to release Windows 8.
I think that Windows 7 is a fantastic Operating System that should have been celebrated and given some time to settle and become a defacto baseline OS for Microsoft.
Instead of rolling out a comprehensive set of dual Operating Systems (Windows 8 desktop/Tablet), I believe that Microsoft should have worked on the Windows 8 tablet OS and worked on deep integration with the Cloud and Windows 7.
They should then have taken a couple of years to analyze the public’s reaction to the Tablet OS and based on that (real tangible feedback), they should have built the desktop version of Windows 8.
I believe that this would have been a more BALANCED approach and would have been a win-win.
Before I started my own business, I worked in quite a few large companies.
Any employee working for a large company knows the feeling of having a huge reorganization, people moved all over the place, titles changed, offices changed etc etc and having senior execs tell you that this is the way forward.
18 months later, those execs leave and new execs come in and – you guessed it – huge reorganization, people moved all over the place, titles changed, offices changed etc etc …this is the way forward.
The moral of this story is, sometimes you have to let big changes settle a bit and take some time to see if they work. Once you have enough data, only then should you carefully make changes.
I think that Windows 7 works great and it’s too early to talk about replacing it.
Having said that, Windows 8 will be displayed at the BUILD conference in September. Maybe Microsoft will prove me wrong.
What do you guys think?