In a year that started with weak revenues and layoffs, being on the Windows team at Microsoft doesn't seem like a bad place to be right now. You've got year-over-year gains in Windows PC sales; an effective "I'm a PC" ad campaign running on TV; diminished Mac sales as consumers hunker down in a bad economy.
Microsoft received some more love and affection this week, with positive data about the Windows 7 beta and Windows-based netbooks hitting the newswire.
But is this affection for Windows real love or convenient love? Little bit of both, I'd say. It helps that Microsoft is kicking butt in the marketing department, reminding consumers how much they love their affordable Windows PCs. Consumers are returning the favor by buying more PCs and netbooks. But this is more love of a heavier wallet than love of Windows. Notice that those "Laptop Hunter" TV ads with Lauren and Giampaolo don't mention the Windows operating system? They really should.
Anyway, the netbook news. Research firm NPD reported that Windows is now running on a whopping 96 percent of netbooks in the United States. The previous number that had been kicking around was 90 percent to Linux's 10 percent. So we are to assume Linux is now down to 4 percent on netbooks.
Either way, Windows is crushing Linux here. If only Linux could get a crack marketing team to evangelize to the mainstream that Linux is not bad for you. You will not break out in hives if you use Linux! It's a shame this isn't more of a fair fight.
Speaking of marketing muscle, Microsoft marketing rep Brandon LeBlanc twisted the knife in Linux's chest with a widely-read and lengthy post on the Windows Experience blog about Windows-based netbooks.
Love is also in the air over in Windows 7 beta land. In a recent poll of corporate IT pros and Windows 7 beta testers by research firm ChangeWave, 44 percent of the respondents said they were "very satisfied" with the beta. This compares to the 10 percent of respondents who said the same about Vista in Feb. 2007.
Another part of the survey, which included a poll of 2,000 enterprise users who make purchasing decisions, did not bode well for Vista but showed promise for Windows 7. Over half (53 percent) said that their businesses are going to skip Vista altogether, and instead wait for the arrival of Windows 7. Only 15 percent said that their organizations would proceed with Vista deployments.
I'm sure Microsoft will gladly take bad Vista news as long as it comes with good Windows 7 news. The survey does conceal — intentionally or not — how many enterprises are going to stick with Windows XP for the foreseeable future. That's a bigger number than Microsoft cares to admit based on how many times Microsoft has extended the Windows XP downgrade deadline.
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