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Windows 7 is the new king of the OS market, passing Windows XP.  (Source: Take Two Interactive)
Microsoft hopes to follow up resounding success with slick Windows 8

StatCounter, a top market analytics firm, recently announced that Microsoft's Windows 7 had attained a milestone accomplishment, surpassing Windows XP to become the most used operating system in the world.  

While "market gurus" and financial pen pushers tend to dwell on Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) recent misses, they tend to miss that in the operating systems business, the company is relishing the greatest sales success in its history.  Selling faster than any other version of Windows -- or any other operating system in the history of the world, for that matter -- Windows 7 soared to a 40.21 percent (appr.) installation rate in under 2 years, bumping the much beloved Windows XP to second place (38.64 percent).

Windows 7's success was bred of one of the company's most maligned efforts to date, Windows Vista.  Vista, launched in late 2006, tried unsuccessfully to replace the popular five-year -old XP.  Many of its biggest problems were due to issues outside Microsoft's control -- including glitchy support peripheral driver support from its hardware partners.  Other issues -- like the bloated memory and processes footprint -- were certainly pinned solely on Microsoft.

But for the shortcomings of Vista, it debuted many of the features including the gaudy Aero graphical interface, which would reinvent Windows.  They just needed a polished package.

That package arrived with Windows 7.  The biggest story of this operating system came well before launch, with Microsoft giving away millions of free beta copies in the largest OS beta test in world history.  The builds had their issues and could be buggy at times -- but customers understood this -- after all, they were using a test product.  And the innovative approach yielded great rewards.  Microsoft caught over 2,000 bugs during the test cycle and used its telemetrics to drastically slash the processor and memory footprint to the point where the new OS could be run on a lowly Pentium II.

Microsoft also benefited from the learning experience of Vista, warning hardware partners not to dare pull a Vista, when it came to driver support.  The crackdown paid off.  By launch time it was relatively rare to find a incompatible peripheral.

The new face of Windows launched Oct. 22, 2009, to much excitement.  Lean and stable in performance, familiar yet more stylish graphically, Windows 7 managed to pass its predecessor in nine months (July 2010).  It sold 240 million licenses in its first year, according to market research firm Gartner, Inc. (IT).

Today it has sold 450 million licenses.  And that total is expected to rise to 635 million by the year's end, with 94 percent of new PCs currently shipping with Windows 7.

Looking ahead Microsoft is eyeing a fall launch for Windows 8.  The new operating system has a tough act to follow, given the mega-success of Windows 7.  But Microsoft -- about to enter its 37th year -- continues to show it has some tricks up its sleeve.  With Windows 8 it will add support for ARM architectures CPUs, opening the gates to a host of power-savvy system-on-a-chip driven designs.  

And Windows 8 will also add the vibrant Metro UI found on Microsoft Windows Phone line.  Developers will be able to create their own chic animated Metro UI tiles, bringing a new level of touch-friendly and visually striking interaction to end users.

And with its market of over 1 billion Windows PCs at stake, Microsoft isn't about to take any chances with stability or performance.  It recently launched a public preview test build to work out the various bugs in the trial build.  And it has cut the memory footprint and number of processes from the already lean Windows 7, despite running built-in antimalware protection and Metro UI for the first time.

Whether Windows 8 turns out to be a hit or miss in sales, Microsoft can take comfort in what it learned in the Vista-Win7 arc -- that even a "failed" effort can breed a new market leader.  But for now the story is Windows 7, and it seems only appropriate to conclude by honoring Windows 7's accomplishment with a quote from a familiar Windows video game character -- "Hail to the king, baby!"

Source: StatCounter

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RE: Well
By cjohnson2136 on 10/17/2011 4:31:16 PM , Rating: 2
Except your forgetting its still in development what they released just recently can drastically change from its final release.

RE: Well
By augiem on 10/17/2011 4:39:09 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not forgetting at all. I do hope they get away from this idea by the time it's done. But Metro is the most trumpeted feature of Windows 8, so I doubt it will fall to the background by the time it comes out. The stark difference of Metro vs the Windows desktop is a very obvious interface feature MS can and will use as a marketing tool to convince users to upgrade. Its their hook this time around. Can you really see that as becoming an optional, manually enabled choice by release time? The best I can hope for is an easy way to disable it, which I'm sure we'll get. But what I'm saying is its illogical to put a phone/tablet/media center pc interface as the default.

RE: Well
By cjohnson2136 on 10/17/2011 4:45:11 PM , Rating: 2
No but I also don't see this as being the next major OS going on every PC with Windows. I see it going on tablets and PC of that that nature. I still think MSFT will over Win 7 on its desktop and laptops

RE: Well
By augiem on 10/17/2011 4:57:30 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, that's interesting. That's the first I'd heard of that concept. Possible, but I don't believe that will be the case for several reasons:

1. Microsoft will have to be maintaining 3 separate, current OS's simultaneously (7, 7 phone, 8) along with its other aging yet supported OS's (Vista, Windows 6.5 phone), not to mention Server and Media Center versions.

2. I've not heard anything about Windows 8 not supporting the full set of hardware/drivers Windows 7 does, not supporting Direct X, etc. (But it is supposed to have a smaller memory footprint).

3. It seems like it would be a very bad marketing move to sell tablets and other consumption devices with an OS braded at version 8 while selling desktop PC's branded at 7. Consumers would very likely feel like they're buying an old OS.

I don't know. It's all speculation at this point.

RE: Well
By cjohnson2136 on 10/17/2011 5:04:06 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed also they are trying to integrate WP7, Win 8 and Xbox so they all work together. All of them are going with the Metro theme.

At the same time if they do move Win 8 as the primary desktop computer, which to me wouldn't make sense since it is very touch oriented, people experimenting with the Developer Preview and beta need to let it be known we want that setting to change the default start up

RE: Well
By augiem on 10/17/2011 5:38:44 PM , Rating: 2
From everything I read it looks like they indeed do intend for Windows 8 to replace Windows 7 on all devices:

"We tried with Windows 8 to re-imagine how you work with a PC," Sinofsky said on stage during an interview with D9 host Walt Mossberg.

He says it will work on laptops, desktops, and tablets, and that everything that worked with Windows 7 will work with the next-generation OS as well. When using existing desktop applications, the interface goes to a very Windows 7-like desktop.


Windows 8 is the next version of Microsoft Windows, a family of operating systems produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablet PCs, servers, and media center PCs.

The first quote from Steven Sinofsky says it all. They tried to reimagine how you work with a PC. Not a tablet or phone or set top box, a PC. So this is clearly the next PC OS and the successor to Windows 7.

Ugh. Reinventing the wheel for reinventing the wheel's sake always turns into a disaster. Designers who don't put functionality as the ultimate an unequivocal #1 are failures in my book. Form follows function, not the other way around. The function of a PC is to do everything the user may want to do, from entertainment, to productivity, to experimentation, etc. They're putting a square peg in a round hole. This is a phone/tablet UI. They just don't get it.

RE: Well
By captainBOB on 10/17/2011 10:20:33 PM , Rating: 2
Ugh. Reinventing the wheel for reinventing the wheel's sake always turns into a disaster.

Yep, the GUI was a total disaster. Because terminal gurus of yore weren't say the same thing you are now. (and still are saying)

Whether or not metro will pay off is still up for grabs, for one thing Microsoft better utilize the significantly higher resolutions of PCs well (which is something Apple forgot to do with launchpad on Lion), otherwise yeah, its just a tablet interface being bolted on a PC.

For now I am waiting till the public beta for further judgement. Perhaps Microsoft is crazy like a fox and knows something we don't yet.

I see great potential in Win 8, its just up to Microsoft and the OEMs to not let me down.

RE: Well
By augiem on 10/18/2011 1:58:15 AM , Rating: 2
History has FAR, FAR more examples of failed reinvention than success when its done not out of necessity but simply out of desire to be different. And Metro is already complete on Win7 so it's not like we have utterly no idea of what's coming even if they change a few things.

Change is good when there's a valid reason behind it and it helps achieve something beneficial (think evolution). Sweeping change for change's sake is 9 times out of 10 nothing more than a "look at me" attention grab and will be forgotton and paved over in time. Having a BFA have gone to an art design college, I know that 100% of design students out there want to make their mark by completely wiping the slate clean, starting over, and reinventing the wheel. They honestly think they can do it... they can swoop in and change the world and solve problems nobody could ever solve before. 100% fail, get real, and realize that progress is made through EVOLUTION, not REVOLUTION.

RE: Well
By augiem on 10/18/2011 2:18:07 AM , Rating: 2
edit: "Metro is already complete on Win7 Phone"

RE: Well
By ekv on 10/18/2011 4:55:36 AM , Rating: 2
They're putting a square peg in a round hole.
Methinks thou dost protest too much. Come on, admit it, you're really Eric Schmidt 8)
Schmidt said he believes Microsoft is “not driving the consumer revolution.” He doesn’t count Microsoft’s Xbox business because it’s “not a platform at the computational level.”
You can discount all you want. You certainly have every right to be concerned over Microsoft's execution of their business plan. Ballmer is not confidence inspiring. Etc.

Everybody likes to point to Minority Report, but Quantum of Solace shows better tech integration (naturally, and better chicks too). How do you connect all that stuff together?

RE: Well
By augiem on 10/18/2011 1:52:16 PM , Rating: 2
Methinks thou dost protest too much.

I happen to be a very opinionated person when it comes to things I care about. Is that so bad?

Microsoft's track record over the years has been so full of bumbling and half attempts in so many varied areas that I'm always amazed at how successful they still are and wonder how big they'd be if they actually ran a tight ship. I see Metro as another bungled attempt at revolution in an area that really needs to revolution. PC/Mac GUI's have been refined to death! They're NOT hard to use, even for the technologically challanged, unless you start getting into file management. It bothers me because they want to make PC's more like smartphones. I think that's a seriously bad idea, but Joe Q. Public will decide in the end by purchasing what he wants and I will be left in the dust. I also happen to think Joe Q. Public is a moron who has taken too many things I am or used to be an enthusast in to the brink of hell with his buying choices (game industry, movies, much of TV). Joe/Jane Q is responsible for giving us reality TV. 'nuff said.

Come on, admit it, you're really Eric Schmidt 8)


RE: Well
By augiem on 10/18/2011 1:53:53 PM , Rating: 2
edit: "I see Metro as another bungled attempt at revolution in an area that really needs NO revolution"

RE: Well
By ekv on 10/18/2011 3:01:18 PM , Rating: 2
You wish you were Eric Schmidt? Guy's a jerk. I've always heard that money is simply an amplifier. Like, if you hit the lottery, what's already there is still there character-wise, you'd just have more money to carry it all out.
it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

My question was rather Socratic. And quite relevant, if you're a software developer, or even a so-called "power user". If you'd rather rant ... it's your tale 8)

RE: Well
By augiem on 10/18/2011 7:22:16 PM , Rating: 2
I wish I had his bank account, that's about it.

I voiced my opinions point by point on questions/comments made by people to my posts. By calling that a rant you, with one swoop, brush off everything I've said without the effort of any sort of discussion/counterargument/commentary. Nothing anyone ever says on a comment board is ever going to make any difference to the world. So what? Why point out the obvious?

RE: Well
By cjohnson2136 on 10/17/2011 5:13:18 PM , Rating: 2
Hell they could even change the name nothing says it has to stay as Windows 8 they could change it to Windows Tablet 7 or something similar to WP7 lol

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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