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Windows 7 roundup: Patches, parties, predictions

Microsoft's Oct. 22 released Windows 7 generated a slew of news stories, including reviews, advice, third-party announcements and just about anything else you could image. Here's a recap:

Microsoft proved to be a party pooper even before its Windows 7 launch parties took place. A few days in advance of the parties, the company said it had patched 9 vulnerabilities, including five critical ones.

Businesses to buy in to Windows 7?

Despite Thursday's Windows 7 launch and hoopla, Microsoft remains cautious about corporate uptake of the operating system and believes 2010 will be the real start to the upgrade cycle that could run into 2012. That outlook would seem to align with numerous analyst surveys, such as a recent report from Forrester Research that shows 66% of corporations plan to upgrade to Windows 7. In that report, however, nearly 50% said they did not have definite plans as to when that upgrade would happen.

Corporations that want to plug into the slickest enterprise features in Windows 7 will have to forgo any financial aversion to Microsoft's Software Assurance maintenance program and likely upgrade their back-end infrastructures, a scenario that some say might alter adoption patterns. Microsoft has been touting Windows 7 features such as Branch Cache and Direct Access to corporations, and the vendor has loaded those features into Enterprise, the version of the client OS for volume licensing customers. But to get Enterprise, users will have to purchase Software Assurance (SA), which is included with Microsoft volume licensing's open value and enterprise agreements.

Party animals

The concept of launch parties for new products has clearly become tired, so hopes weren't especially high for Microsoft's series of Windows 7 launch parties. But it sounds like the events didn't even meet relatively low expectations, grabbing headlines such as “Windows 7 launch parties fizzle” and “Windows 7 launch parties: Are we all mad?” Maybe part of the problem was that these 10 people weren't invited. But of course the big launch event in New York did have its share of sizzle, with CEO Steve Ballmer acting as chief salesman at the coming out party.

Early adopters speak out

British Airports Authority told Computerworld UK that about 50 end users, mainly in legal and procurement jobs, tested a beta version of Windows 7 and plans to expand the rollout to boost security and systems management as well as cut costs. Also in England, British Telecom said it will move its 100,000 employees from XP directly to Windows 7, avoiding Vista entirely.

Vendors embrace, challenge Windows 7

Lenovo synched up the announcement of two ThinkPad laptops with the announcement of Windows 7, which comes on both devices. The laptops boast advanced multimedia capabilities and built-in 3G support to boot. Separately, Canonical issued the release candidate for Ubuntu 9.10, a fresh challenge for Windows 7 on desktops, servers and netbooks. Meanwhile, VMware says the emergence of Windows 7 should boost desktop virtualization adoption, something many customers are believed to have held off on up until now. And of course anything that's good for virtualization is good for VMware in that company's eyes.

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