That of course is a simplified view, however it seems to be the likely analysis when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer comes out of his cave and tells the public "Windows 7 will be more like Windows Vista, but a lot better!" This may not be good news for consumers who boycotted Vista altogether, especially gamers who encountered so many compatibility problems at the operating system’s initial release.
Thursday Ballmer spoke at the Symposium ITxpo, hosted by research firm Gartner in Orlando, Florida. The question and answer session lasted for nearly 45-minutes (which can be seen right here) as he talked about Windows Vista and the next version of Microsoft’s operating system. But because he mentioned that "7" will be a better version of Vista, many attendees mistook the upgrade as a minor release. In fact, he said that Windows 7 is Windows Vista with a cleaner user interface and improvements in performance. Who could blame the attendees for their confusion?
"It’s a real release," he said, "because it’s a lot more work than a minor release. It turns out you can do more than just a minor release in what is essentially a two-and-a-half year period of time. There’s no reason to do just, quote, a minor release, in two-and-a-half years."
The confusion, it seemed, was not in his comparisons between Vista and 7, but in his lack of information. Apparently Microsoft will use the Vista code base for a long time, thus anything released from here on out will more than likely have the Vista flare. According to Ballmer, the company can "do a lot of innovation for a lot of years on the same code base." He also acknowledged that there are a lot of enhancements that could be done to the code base in regards to multi-core processing.
Windows Vista endured a jaded launch in 2005, mostly because consumers experienced problems running older programs on the new system. At the time of its release, Microsoft claimed that all PCs could run Vista, however some of the features - like the Aero interface - taxed many systems, including the laptop of Vice President Mike Nash.
But putting the hardware issues aside, Microsoft saw many complaints about the upgrade program, especially for consumers who format the hard drive on a regular basis. Gamers avoided the OS altogether after hearing that F.E.A.R., Doom 3, Half-Life 2, CounterStrike and more wouldn’t run in the Vista environment; most stayed with Windows XP just for its use in resources alone. Many sites and organizations like this one tried to keep Windows XP alive, however Microsoft officially canned the popular OS on June 30, 2008. While the company will extend support for the OS until 2014, retail outlets no longer carry Windows XP for purchase.
As for Windows 7, the new-and-improved OS will enter alpha stage in two weeks. Microsoft plans to release the retail version late 2009 or early 2010.