In a last promotional run-up to the Windows 7 release next month, Microsoft is urging business customers to start their upgrades now with examples of customers already using the software, and another acknowledgement that the company learned lessons from how it handled Vista's release three years ago.
Start now. Particularly if you skipped Vista, you need to start testing applications for compatibility with Windows 7. Microsoft says it will discontinue support for Windows XP in April 2014. Gartner predicts that many application vendors will drop support for XP versions by 2012. "Application support is the biggest problem to be concerned with," says Gartner analyst Michael Silver, even with some browser applications: Windows 7 forces an upgrade to Internet Explorer 8.
At the Windows 7 launch in downtown Manhattan, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the general availability of Windows 7 with his usual enthusiasm, emphasizing ease of use, faster boot up times and the ability to bring together the PC and the television.
Despite enterprise affinity for the sturdy and reliable Windows XP, it's all but inevitable that Windows 7, shipping next week, on Oct. 22, will see significant business adoption in 2010. That's due to both Windows XP's age and the timing of PC hardware upgrade cycles. Analysts at research firm Gartner expect corporate demand for Windows 7 to gain full momentum by the end of 2010.