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8/4/2009
11:53 AM
Paul McDougall
Paul McDougall
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Windows 7 A Work Of Art

Boticellis, Da Vincis, Rembrandts, and, uh, Windows 7? Yup, among the works at Washington, D.C.'s National Gallery of Art you'll eventually find Microsoft's next operating system. Also on view is Vista-in the dumpster out back.

Boticellis, Da Vincis, Rembrandts, and, uh, Windows 7? Yup, among the works at Washington, D.C.'s National Gallery of Art you'll eventually find Microsoft's next operating system. Also on view is Vista-in the dumpster out back.The NGA is in the market for 90 new Windows PCs to replace its existing machines, according to a notice on the federal government's procurement Web site.

The note states that the winning vendor must supply computers that are capable of running everyday business and graphics apps like Office, FileMaker, and Adobe's Creative suite. They must also be able to run Windows 7.

"The Gallery intends to upgrade to Microsoft Windows 7 within the next 12 to 18 months," according to the solicitation. That's welcome news for Microsoft, as recent polls indicate the enterprise market is, at best, lukewarm to Win7. Only 16% of businesses surveyed last month by InformationWeek plan to adopt the operating system within a year of its Oct. 22nd public debut. 37% of those polled said they have no plans at all for Windows 7-at least not yet.

Sure, 90 PCs is pretty small potatoes in terms of the business market-but the NGA is a prestigious, high profile institution that would make a great reference account for Microsoft. It also holds big advertising potential. ("I'm a PC!" says Rodin.)

The NGA's notice also states that Microsoft's current operating system, Vista, is about as welcome around the gallery's priceless collection as a bull on roller skates. The solicitation stipulates that the PCs "must be able to downgrade to Windows XP" until the NGA is ready for Windows 7.

No surprise there. Vista, with its finicky security controls and hostility toward older applications, was all but shunned by corporate users. Fortunately, Win7 offers Windows XP Mode-the Release Candidate of which went live today.

With OS sales down 29% in the last quarter, you can bet that Steve Ballmer and company are desperately hoping Windows 7's release marks the beginning of Microsoft's own renaissance period.

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