Vista SP2 Release Candidate Raises Upgrade Path Questions - InformationWeek

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2/20/2009
09:22 AM
Alexander Wolfe
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Vista SP2 Release Candidate Raises Upgrade Path Questions

The Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista is in the news today, following an Ars Technica story reporting that Microsoft has offered up a release candidate of the update to select testers. This is actually pretty ho-hum news, since the SP2 beta has been around since last October. The more interesting question going forward is, what's the upgrade path to Windows 7 for current Vista

The Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista is in the news today, following an Ars Technica story reporting that Microsoft has offered up a release candidate of the update to select testers. This is actually pretty ho-hum news, since the SP2 beta has been around since last October. The more interesting question going forward is, what's the upgrade path to Windows 7 for current Vista users?Microsoft's position on this is a good news, bad news story, depending on who you are. Reportedly, anyone purchasing a Vista PC after July 1 of this year (from an OEM participating in Microsoft's free upgrade program) will be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 7. Buy your box earlier than that, you're out of luck. (Or around $100; I'm making an educated guess here about what you'll be able to snare an upgrade for.)

This is a bad strategy.

Microsoft seems to be planning to ship Windows 7 sometime around January 2010. That would leave a six-month interregnum in which post-July 1 buyers of Vista boxes would be sitting there waiting for their upgrades. Meanwhile, people who purchased PCs prior to that date will own machines which essentially will turn into software boat-anchors next year.

What Microsoft should do is take half a page from the open-source world (i.e., a little bit of free) and offer every owner of a Vista PC -- past, present, and future -- a free upgrade to Windows 7. This would do several things. It would stoke demand for Windows 7, it would send a message to Vista owners that Microsoft feels some of your pain (are at least, the slowness of your searches), and it also would remove any damper on PC sales while people dither about whether to buy now, after July 1, or just wait for Windows 7.

I should add that I actually don't think Vista is as bad as perhaps I've made it out to be above. I've written many nice things about Vista. (And Vista SP2 will only improve the operating system's feature set.) But the point is that Windows 7 is Vista made right. So if you're Microsoft, why wouldn't you want to go out of your way to thank the people who've supported you during the Vista era -- especially since there are so many others who've resisted Vista?



First install of the pre-beta build of Windows 7. (Click picture to enlarge, and to see 43 Windows 7 screen shots.)





Windows 7 lets you snap your windows to the left and right, to ease screen management and to compare docs. (Click picture to enlarge, and to see 43 Windows 7 screen shots.)

How are you planning to upgrade to Windows 7? Let me know, by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me directly at [email protected].

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Alex Wolfe is editor-in-chief of InformationWeek.com.


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