Microsoft’s (MSFT) sales strategy for its forthcoming Windows 7 operating system is twofold: Getting people to buy it built in to new PCs, and getting corporations to upgrade their current machines, most of which are still running Windows XP. So why does Microsoft refuse to make the transition from XP the easiest thing in the world?
As Engadget’s Joshua Topolsky notes in his review of Windows 7 Release Candidate 1, Microsoft is including an XP emulator in Windows 7, but “unless you’re an enterprise user, Microsoft didn’t really intend this feature for you.” It’ll reportedly be a free download for Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate Edition, or available for any edition of Windows 7 if you have a full XP licence.
What’s the point? As Topolsky notes, this should be simple, free, and built-in to every copy of Windows 7 that ships. That’s how you get customers to upgrade to your newest platform — not by forcing them to deal with extra hassles.
When Apple released its OS X operating system, its OS 9 emulator — “Classic” mode — was built into every copy of OS X that shipped. It was free, it was seamless, and it was a feature Apple bragged about. It made upgrading to OS X painless, because Mac users knew that if one of their apps wasn’t available for OS X yet — like, famously, Quark XPress — it would run in Classic mode, at least good enough to get by until a replacement came along.
That’s the spirit Microsoft needs to pick up on for Windows 7: Giving all of its users an easy, confident transition, and not penalising corporations that never made the upgrade to crappy Vista.