Lucky number seven - PC Retail

Lucky number seven

We talk to industry figures about the launch of Windows 7
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Microsoft appears to be very bullish about the launch of its latest operating system. With pre-orders sold out and highly positive feedback from the release candidate, it’s easy to see why.

The vendor has been extremely busy over the last few months ensuring that the system is thoroughly tested and, most importantly, meets people’s expectations. Being built on the Vista kernel, Microsoft has addressed many of the biggest complaints about its last OS, as well as introducing a wealth of new features.

The most sweeping changes to the Windows operating system have been made at an architectural level. Vista was often accused of being a resource hog, so with Windows 7 performance has been enhanced by the simple act of streamlining the code, vastly reducing the software’s impact on the PCs hardware.

The start-up and shutdown processes have been significantly streamlined to offer a much faster boot time, memory protocols have been upgraded to offer improved search and indexing of local data and the extensive tweaks to the code base have resulted in a greatly reduced software footprint. Software support called Direct Compute allows the system to utilise the processing power of a GPU to improve performance across the board – not just in graphics or physics calculations.

“PC gamers out there make substantial investments in their hardware and they do things besides gaming,” Microsoft’s director of consumer product management, Parri Munsell, tells PCR. “Direct Compute allows the gamer to take advantage of that investment throughout their entire Windows experience. For example, one of the things it benefits is MP3 players. It automatically translates different music file formats in a process called transcoding and starting with Windows 7 you can now do this.”

In addition to these performance improvements, the network driver database for the operating system is significantly larger than that offered by Vista, ensuring a broader range of compatibility with laptops, netbooks and devices, as well as other PCs on the network.

“If there is any hesitancy, perhaps we have people still back on XP because they had performance issues on Vista. Those days are over – come in and join us on Windows 7. Consumers will see a broad level of compatibility on their PC, from a gaming level right down to anything else they might do on their computer,” says Munsell. “Windows 7 is here. Game on.”

One of the most interesting additions to Windows 7 is touch support. Although not designed with a specific function in mind, the support of a touch interface is hoped to make the system considerably more appealing for the young and the old, for whom the mouse and keyboard method may present too many complications.

“Windows 7 has touch built into its DNA,” continues Munsell. “Everything is touch enabled, whether you want to browse your desktop or surf the web. Of course you do need a multi-touch screen, but because Windows 7 has it built in, we are seeing a lot more PC and display manufacturers taking advantage of it. And as that ecosystem grows, more of those PCs are going to make their way into households.”

The inclusion of multi-touch support presents a unique sales opportunity to retailers. Due to the smart phone market, touch screens are not the novelty items that they use to be and so consumers are much more open to the idea of buying one. It may take a little while, but with this kind of software support, multi-touch interface could be in every household in the country.

Hyder Badami,
Senior Sales Manager,
Bluepoint:

“The new OS is awaited eagerly by one and all in the industry and it should have a positive impact on sales. We should be able to improve our OS sales through the launch of Windows 7.”

Apay Obang-Oyway,
Head of Software and Mobility,
Ingram Micro:

“Windows 7 had some great reviews and stimulated channel enthusiasm since the beta version became available.

“The excitement about the new release is evidenced by the great uptake of our Windows 7 customer readiness events and the pre-register programme we have been running for a number of weeks. Windows 7 presents sales opportunities for standalone, attach, upgrade and services revenue.”

Jon Atherton,
Commercial Group Director,
Enta:

“Windows 7 is being very well received and, with the launch just days away, we are very excited and looking forward to distributing the new OS.

“On the demos I have seen of this product and the firsthand experience I have had with it, you can clearly see Microsoft have worked very hard on giving the end user everything they want in an OS. These combined factors have created very high demand for the product.”

Mark Lynch,
Product Manager,
VIP:

“The feedback we have received to date for Windows 7 has been much more positive than for Vista.

“We are confident that there will be plenty of demand on launch day and with that, we hope to see a strong surge of sales for Windows 7. Off the back of this, I would also expect component sales to see a boost as consumers look to purchase new hardware to accompany their new Windows 7 operating system.”

Iain Bristow,
Technical PR and Component Product Marketing,
Asus:

“Windows 7 is a really great improvement and is the perfect companion to our P5QL and M3A76 series of motherboards. I’d certainly hope that it would stimulate sales in the wider industry. Windows 7 as a platform offers a lot to the consumer and opens up a lot of new options.”

Sasa Marinkovic,
Senior Manager, EMEA Marketing,
AMD:

“AMD is really excited about the upcoming Window 7 launch – end users will love it. With a number of brand new features such as DirectX 11, user experience and innovation are at the heart of the OS.”

Neil Handa,
Head of Marketing,
Gem:

“I anticipate Windows 7 to be popular and successful and I am sure the channel is looking forward to its release. We are planning for sustainable sales well into its launch as Microsoft targets XP and Vista users.

“The launch of Windows 7 is expected to enhance sales of third party software and peripherals.”

Jo Kemp,
Head of Software Sales,
Koch Media:

“From what we are hearing from key retailers and independents, the response from the channel is positive. In turn we are already seeing opportunities being created for other vendors on both software and hardware. We have been working hard with all of our vendors to ensure they are Windows 7 ready.”

Paul Cubbage,
Managing Director,
Target Components:

“There seems to be far more interest in Windows 7 than there was in Vista – the reception to the two OS’s couldn't really be more different.

“We should see a bit of a spike in consumer demand, and I'm sure Windows 7 itself will sell well, although I don't see it having a significant impact on hardware sales.”

Ben Perrins,
PSG Consumer Business Development Manager,
HP:

“With Windows 7, Microsoft paid special attention to performance, reliability, security, compatibility, and battery life. Together, we are on track to deliver a great experience that will allow customers to spend more time doing the things they want, without the operating system getting in the way.

“HP has helped guide Microsoft through the development of Windows 7, collaborating and offering unique insight and counsel on emerging technologies. Because of this early collaboration, HP has engineered truly innovative PCs – from our thin and light notebooks and high-performance desktops to our acclaimed TouchSmart PCs, providing advanced performance, compelling user experiences and more functionality overall.”

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