his recent piece on AllThingsD hit some important points about transitioning to Windows 7, overall it's my (humble :) opinion that we will see quick adoption of the new Microsoft operating system by large and small companies as well as individuals.
After yesterday's announcement on the Windows Team Blog that Windows 7 had in fact been released to manufacturing, I took the opportunity to run the various MS compatibility tools across 2 networks, one large and one small.
While both networks had boxes that flagged incompatibility, I was able to force older legacy drivers to get those boxes up and running. I even got this nasty box goin'! It wasn't rocket science. While I don't recommend this (yet), it will be a factor in what people, companies, and industry will be looking at the end of this year.
The point is very simply ... upfront and ongoing cost vs. long haul reliability, efficiency and ease of use.
Despite the times, large companies haven't really changed that much. They're looking every day at efficiency.
The best example is the 30% or so of the Fortune 500 that are already all over SEO and Social Networking. Many have completely relaunched complex websites ... and it's working.
Windows 7 offers a host of features that will work smarter and require significantly less calls to the IT team.
Hardware is at bargain basement prices where that becomes necessary and by the time Windows 7 is actually delivering, forcing hardware (unlike Vista) should be a lot less necessary.
Application compatibility may be the only stumbling block for some, particularly in the case of proprietary programs.
This operating system is a quantum leap. I agree with those that have said that "it's what Vista should have been" but Vista's failures were largely due to a lack of compatible drivers and firmware.
With a free public Beta and now the RC in the wild for some time, as well as a host of companies preparing to develop for it (Check out the latest list here), the ROI should become clear for those thinking about deploying the product.
I'm betting that expensive legacy service contracts by large companies will be terminated and replaced by either outsourced or in house IT 'uptime' and 'tune-up' teams.
Those contracts are generally very expensive and many of them, due to economic-driven delays in the replacement cycle, are supporting old, somewhat dying hardware.
It'll be the first or second quarter of next year before anyone gets a good read on this and Microsoft's profits will also depend on migration to newer Office products (and potentially Bing), but it's a safe bet, than when there is an economic turn, tech in general should be one of the leading indicators. Windows 7 will be a part of that landscape.