Microsoft Allowing Windows 7 to XP Downgrades – Smart or Stupid?

Several sources have reported the news from Microsoft that “Windows XP Downgrades Allowed with Windows 7.” Is that smart of Microsoft to allow the same downgrade option for Windows 7 they reluctantly agreed to for Vista? Does this mean Microsoft executives expect Windows 7 to get the same hostile reaction that Vista received? Or are Microsoft executives becoming more concerned about the happiness of their customers?

Yes, XP remains the favorite operating system from Microsoft, but is that because people hate to change, or because Vista stinks so much? Better the devil you know than the devil you don't? With Vista, the new devil made the old devil. XP, look great by comparison. Isn't Windows 7 supposed to fix all the Vista mess?

I'm worried that Windows 7, regardless of the happy pre-release press Microsoft is generating now, will be only slightly better than Vista when it does finally hit the street. Built on Vista, Windows 7 will supposedly support XP drivers, but that will likely be moot by the time it actually hits the streets. Remember, XP arrived way way back in 2001. That's several generations in technology years, which move and become old far faster than dog years. Think of technology years more like rental car years. XP should be drawing Social Security by now.

Personally, I think such statements this far before Windows 7 ships does nothing but keep Microsoft in the news in a more positive way than people complaining about Vista. I've been using Vista regularly on my second computer for several months, and I still don't like it. My operating system preferences run Ubuntu Linux, Microsoft XP, Apple OS X 10.5, and Vista. Heck, maybe put DOS before Vista.

What this should tell small businesses watching for technology trends is that Microsoft still has no clue about how to sell Windows 7 and recover from the giant egg Vista laid, and broke. You can't get a clear idea of any value from Microsoft when they talk about future operating systems. You can get a slightly clearer idea by reading trade magazines and Web sites that focus on PC hardware and software. You'll get the clearest view of your future if you keep your head down, keep working hard in this economy, and ignore everything you hear about Windows 7 and Vista coming from Microsoft.

Work hard and stay focused for now. Let the operating system mess clean itself up before you start worrying about which Microsoft MessOS to use in your new computers.

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