Despite ramping up efforts to improve Vista traction in the marketplace, Microsoft is already preparing for the release of its latest operating software – codename Windows 7 – following an announcement by Bill Gates.
At the annual meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said he expected Windows 7 to be released within the next two years, around three years after the launch of Vista.
Ullrich Loeffler, program manager A/NZ for analyst firm IDC said that Windows 7 is likely to be an update of the Vista code framework.
“It’s unlikely Microsoft will be building something from the ground up,” he said. “That’s why it is very probable the new version is an extension of Vista. I don’t think it would make sense three years later to develop a new operating system with a different code base.”
Gates reportedly said the new version of Windows would include features related to mobility and touch screen technology. Capitalising on the thriving mobile phone sector is a natural progression for the software giant, commented Loeffler.
“I think mobility is a logical move as growth trends emerge in the mobile technology market,” he said.
According to Loeffler, the announcement of an upcoming successor to Vista may negatively impact its already stunted uptake in the corporate space.
“It may raise the question, ‘is it really worth upgrading to Vista if soon there will be an extension or newer version’,” he said. “Vista was a completely new code and therefore there was a lot of uncertainty in the market. Announcing the release of new, probably more reliable, version based on this code could have a significant positive impact on the newer version but negatively impact Vista.”
Loeffler predicted that a scenario may emerge where Vista will act as an interim application for businesses waiting for the release of Windows 7, much like Windows ME, which was developed between Windows 2000 and Windows XP.
“[Windows ME] didn’t make inroads in the corporate market and was eventually overtaken by XP, which was very dominant. But it’s still very early to say whether the same thing will happen with Vista and Windows 7,” he said.