When SHOULD Windows 7 Ship?
Over at TechRepublic, they have a poll up asking people when they think Windows 7 will ship. I, for one, have no idea.
However, I think the question they have to get right at Microsoft is when SHOULD we ship Windows 7. Right now, I think it looks like Steve Ballmer and the boys have thrown in the towel on Vista and they hope that a super-hyped release of Windows 7 will make the whole Vista thing go away like that season on Dallas where they decided it was all just a (bad) dream. Unfortunately, for Microsoft, this is real life, not a soap opera.
Rushing Windows 7 to market in 2009, or even early 2010, will be met with just as many bugs, incompatibilities, and user frustration as the launch of Vista. Only this time, it will be two in a row, and that, at least in some people’s minds, marks a trend. If Microsoft gets caught up in a media wave that calls into question its ability to launch operating systems, it will have a longer, harder time digging out than they already have ahead of them for Vista.
What should the Windows 7 ship date be? 2011 or 2012. Not because it won’t be ready, but because that is how long it would take to fix Vista and get it redeemed in the public’s eyes. Then, you ship Windows 7. Shipping Windows 7 before then admits that Vista was a failure, not, as Microsoft contents, an overblown reporting of a few glitches and the too loud moaning of a few malcontents.
The best strategy for Microsoft is to ship Vista 1.5 (and get it right this time) in late 2009, or maybe early 2010 (late 2009 is better). Then, showcase the heck out of it for two or three months, and then let it ride. A year or two later, when everyone with a new computer runs Vista just because that is what non-Apple people do (like XP today), THEN it is time to start thinking about shipping Windows 7.
Otherwise, Windows 7 might just also be known as Flop 2.0.