Do you think MSFT’s message on Win 7 is confusing? I do.

Ok, this is getting a little confusing. Microsoft is telling customers:

We know some of our customers are considering waiting for Windows 7 instead of deploying Windows Vista today. We want these customers to understand the following considerations, so they are not surprised later on:

  • You may find your company in situations where applications are no longer supported on Windows XP and not yet supported on Windows 7.
  • You will want to take time to evaluate Windows 7 just as you evaluate any new operating system for your environment prior to deployment (see deployment realities above). As Windows 7 is planned to be released in about 3 years after Windows Vista, the total period that many customers will likely be waiting prior to deploying Windows 7 in their environment will likely be in the range of 5 years after Windows Vista release.

But wait… as Joe Wilcox points out

  • Many customers stayed with Windows XP because of Vista application compatibility problems.
  • Windows 7 is largely based on Vista, with emphasis on maintaining backward compatibility.
  • Backward compatibility is near the top of Microsoft’s priority list for Windows 7 development.

S-o-o-o, if Seven is to Vista and Microsoft claims Vista is now to XP, why isn’t Seven to XP? If A is to B and B is to C, then A is to C, right? There’s a breakdown in somebody’s logic, either mine or Microsoft’s… How does Microsoft’s Windows 7 is Vista-compatible marketing reconcile with her warnings about XP and Seven compatibility? I raise this point because Windows 7 won’t support XP upgrades. Businesses will have to do clean installs. Now why is that?  Maybe then, there really are compatibility problems. But if Windows 7 is as compatible as Microsoft repeatedly claims, why should there be any concern migrating from XP?

So what’s the story here? I’m more than a little confused as well. What are these apps that are no longer supported on XP and not yet supported on 7 and how does going to Vista help in that scenario? Is it really good advice to recommend a costly double migration from XP to Vista and then Vista to 7 as opposed to testing the merits of 7 and then making the migration decision? I know MSFT doesn’t want to freeze the market into waiting for 7 when they’d love to sell Vista licenses today (or at least get IT folks to deploy Vista licenses they’ve acquired) but this advice seems totally off and somewhat contrary to the 7 compatibility story MSFT’s been telling.

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