Mike Cherry, an analyst with research group Directions on Microsoft, said that for Windows 7, Microsoft will likely keep the bells and whistles to a minimum so they can deliver "something reasonable they can complete by a reasonable date ... Their goal will be to try to put Vista behind them," he said.
Because of its compatibility problems and hardware requirements, Microsoft is still struggling to inspire businesses to move from XP to Vista. Some business users have even suggested that companies may skip Vista altogether and hold on to Windows XP for a little longer so they can migrate from that to Windows 7.
On the consumer side, Microsoft already had to extend the length of time it would allow OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and retail outlets to sell XP-based PCs by five months. The deadline for retailers and OEMs is now June 30, but that may be extended, as chip maker Intel expects low-cost desktops and notebooks running its Atom processors to hit the market in the third quarter. Given Vista's hardware requirements, those computers presumably will run XP, though Microsoft maintains it is committed to the June deadline to take the OS off the market.
To remedy these problems, Cherry suggested that Microsoft might serve itself well by making Windows 7 a stable release for business users by using the same code base as the recently released Windows Server 2008. He said Microsoft's mistake with Vista was to try to serve consumers and business customers with a flashy release that added a host of multimedia functionality instead of taking into consideration practical concerns that would affect performance and compatibility.
"It would seem to me that what we really need [is] for a business edition to be built off of that server code, so it would look much less fancy than Vista, much more austere with not a lot of wasted functionality," he said.