>p>Although Windows 7 isn't released yet, I expect it to be a much larger success than Windows Vista. I even expect it to be as solid and popular as the venerable Windows XP. When it comes to their handling of the development process for Windows 7, it's blatantly apparent that Microsoft learned a host of lessons from their time developing Windows Vista. This time around, they did it right.
First and foremost, Microsoft hasn't overpromised and under delivered on Windows 7 at this point. At the beginning of the Vista development cycle, Microsoft went out of their way to talk about all of the awesome stuff that would make its way into the new Windows only to slowly but surely strip out the more exciting features, such as WinFS. Sure, Vista was a major overhaul and has a whole lot of new features, but the "big" stuff, with the exception o Aero and User Account Control, got dropped.
In contrast, about the only main points that Microsoft has made about Windows 7 is that it will be a streamlined version of Vista with less User Account Control annoyance and that it will be touch-enabled. Other features, such as the new Taskbar and Aero Peek, might have been talked about internally, but were pleasant surprises to a lot of people in that Microsoft made them work before a lot of fanfare.
With the Windows 7 development cycle, Microsoft has also released good product during the beta cycle that has gotten good press and gotten people excited about what they're seeing from the development team. Beta releases of Vista were, well, not so good.
Of course, this time, the new version of Windows is more of an evolutionary step rather than a revolutionary change. Windows XP to Windows Vista was a major ordeal with a ton of under-the-hood changes. Windows Vista to Windows 7, on the other hand, feels more like a service pack in some ways. That has to make the development process easier.
It even looks like Microsoft might release Windows 7 earlier than anticipated with an RC rumored to be arriving in May.
Regardless of the why behind it, the fact remains that Windows 7, in general, continues to receive good press. It's obvious that Microsoft learned the hard way that overpromising and under delivering on a product like Windows wasn't the best way to win friends.