Bottom line: So far, Windows 7 looks and behaves almost exactly like Windows Vista. It performs almost exactly like Vista. And it breaks all sorts of things that used to work just fine under Vista. In other words, Microsoft's follow-up to its most unpopular OS release since Windows Me threatens to deliver zero measurable performance benefits while introducing new and potentially crippling compatibility issues.
The larger question is what all those Vista refuseniks will do when their hopes for Windows 7 are crushed. Some will undoubtedly give in. After all, you can prop up Windows XP only for so long. However, for many shops, this may be the perfect opportunity to seriously explore the alternatives outside Microsoft. Ubuntu Linux gets more polished each quarter, while Apple hardware and Mac OS X continue to impress technical and nontechnical users alike.
One thing's for sure: Microsoft's once unassailable dominance of the enterprise desktop is wobbling on a precipice. Windows Vista has permanently eroded the company's reputation among IT decision makers, and from what we've seen of Windows 7 so far, Microsoft still does not "get IT."
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