by Brendan Smith
The long-heralded release of Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 7, at last dropped yesterday, and that whooshing sound you hear is likely a gentle sigh of relief washing over Redmond. Reviews for the new OS have been largely positive, helping Microsoft put some of the negative atmosphere caused by the Vista OS aside. Microsoft also announced better-than-expected financial results today, despite revenue and profit declines.
Competitors are not sitting still for the hoopla though. Apple has launched advertising aimed at getting users to buy a Mac rather than going through the upgrade process, which is easy for Vista users and not-so-easy for XP users, who must do a clean install and copy and replace all files they wish to keep. And IBM is also using the opportunity to introduce its own software suite, which it launched specifically for the African market, to consumers in North America too. IBM claims that its suite could save customers 50% off the cost of migrating to Windows 7. It's part of a "Microsoft-free" alliance with Canonical, Red Hat and Novell. The initial package was aimed at African government and education users, while the North American push is targeted towards business users.
Google has also recently stepped up efforts attempting to get computer users to do more in the cloud, where it in turn is being more aggressively pushed by Microsoft. Windows 7 may signal just the parting shot of a whole new war for users' affections.