Thursday, October 22, 2009

Windows 7 launches

by alec on October 22, 2009

Today is Windows 7 launch day, the day that Microsoft hopes to erase the ghosts of Windows Vista, and move forward.  After many months of using the beta versions of Windows 7, I feel confident declaring it the best Windows yet. Windows 7 is solid, it performs well, and the rough edges of the new user experience pioneered in Windows Vista have been shaved off.

I run Windows 7 on a variety of hardware – a couple of Core2 Quad PC’s equipped with 6 and 8 gigabytes of RAM respectively, an Athlon 3800 single core with 2 gigabytes of RAM, a core2 Duo with 2 gigabytes of RAM, and an HP Mini 1000 with an Atom N270 single core processor and 2 gigabytes of RAM.  Windows 7 performs well on them all. The single biggest performance factor is having sufficient RAM.  Microsoft’s system requirements page says that 1 gigabyte of RAM is sufficient for Windows 7.  In my experience with the beta, that’s not enough.  2 gigabytes is a requirement for acceptable performance.  A gigabyte of RAM is a $30 to $50 investment – spend the money!

And what of Apple?  Coming off outstanding financial results at the beginning of the week, Apple sought to trump Microsoft’s launch by announcing new products of their own.  Nicely played! 

In the short term, we shouldn’t expect Apple’s marketing tactics to take a new tack, even though Windows 7 is launched.  Yes, it will be more difficult to attack Windows 7 than Windows Vista.  However, the prize money in this battle is in shifting the upgraders – those who have held off on Windows Vista and are still on XP.  Their computers are old, and many are not likely candidates for Windows 7 because of hardware constraints. Even if those computers are capable of running Windows 7, Windows XP is not a supported upgrade to Windows 7.  Can those consumers be persuaded to move to Macintosh instead of buying a new PC?

DISCLOSURE: Until 2000 I was a Microsoft employee, and a member of the Windows team.  I’m not a Microsoft shareholder (it has been a terrible investment, and I sold Microsoft out of my retirement savings portfolio years ago), nor do I hope to work for the company at any point in the future, which is to say I’ve no vested interest in seeing them succeed.

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Geddes on Business Models

by alec on October 22, 2009

In advance of next week’s eComm Europe in Amsterdam, organizer Lee Dryburgh has posted a fascinating interview with BT’s Martin Geddes on business model innovation. Martin’s thesis?  The bulk of the profits from the technical innovations in the telecom industry will come from business model innovation, and the real money is in serving businesses in the ways that they want to interact with their customers.    The interview also strays into some of Martin’s pet topics, including presence.

The most valuable part of this entire discussion was the clear and concise way in which Martin describes business models in general.  I predict that his succinct description of cost inputs and revenue outputs will become a staple of start-up business plans.

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