Having made its case for Windows 7 in the business and consumer markets, Microsoft is taking its pitch to the nation's capital. Which raises a question: Would the U.S. government do a better job of running the country using Microsoft's new operating system?Microsoft has invited 100 government IT decision makers to attend a Nov. 12 product launch in Chevy Chase, Md., where Microsoft has just opened 134,000 square feet of new office space. The U.S. Air Force will be among those discussing its plans at the event.
Jeffrey Zients, the U.S. government's chief performance officer, recently identified IT as representing "the largest gap" in government performance, based on his assessment of things after 100 days on the job. "IT has been the major driver of the productivity gains and the service quality improvements in the private sector over the last decade," Zients said, according to Federal Times. "From what I've seen, the government has missed out."
Microsoft's marketing message is that Windows 7, along with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange 2010, brings a "a new efficiency" to business environments. That promise would seem to resonate in government offices as well, especially with the chief performance officer looking for ways to boost productivity and improve services.
How might Windows 7 help Uncle Sam? As I wrote a few weeks ago, Microsoft is touting User Account Control, Direct Access, and BitLocker To Go as security features that should appeal to government users. Windows 7's energy efficiency and usability advances are other areas to consider.
We have yet to hear much about Windows 7 adoption plans by civilian, defense, or intelligence agencies, which suggests they're still in the evaluation stage. Dell is predicting that government agencies will implement Windows 7 "more broadly and more quickly" than they did Windows Vista, but that it may be too early to know if that proves true.
What's your view? Will Windows 7 make government agencies significantly more productive? Or, at approximately $100 per Win 7 license, is this an upgrade that government agencies can't afford?
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