Microsoft's Windows 7 To Miss Back-To-School, Ship In Time For Christmas

steve ballmer windows 7 ces

Microsoft (MSFT) says Windows 7, the successor to Vista, will be available on Oct. 22.

That means it’ll hit shelves in time for the busy Christmas shopping season, but will miss back-to-school season, when hundreds of thousands of college students buy new computers. That’s good news for Apple (AAPL), which won’t have to compete with Windows 7 promotions for back-to-school.

But Microsoft’s longer term concerns for Windows 7 are:

Can it be the platform of choice for netbooks? Right now, Windows XP is the dominant netbook platform, and if Microsoft’s lo-fi Windows 7 Starter can catch on, that’ll be fine. But Microsoft can’t afford to shed ground to Linux platforms like Google’s (GOOG) Android. (And whatever kind of Internet tablet Apple is reportedly working on.)

Can Microsoft get enterprise customers to upgrade? So far, the vast majority have ignored Vista, choosing to stick with XP.

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