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Time was when other software and hardware companies would line up to praise Microsoft’s latest upgrade.
And Microsoft does have some friends turning out today - notably HP - which is co-hosting launch events in Auckland and Wellington. Sony also began to promote its line-up of Windows 7 laptops last night.
Others were less welcoming.
Reps from customer relationship management (CRM) giant Salesforce.com were last night dutifully forwarding a missive from the company’s chief executive, Marc Benioff, trashing Microsoft’s new OS.
"The best thing Windows 7 has going for it is that it is not Vista. The truth is that the operating system is irrelevant now. It's all about the cloud - cloud applications for consumers and businesses, and cloud platforms like Force.com, Amazon Web Services, and Google App Engine.
"When the world's largest software company markets its flagship product as 'more stable', you know that there is something terribly wrong with the state of innovation at Microsoft.”
Earlier, a VMware manager made similar comments to NBR, questioning the relevance of a Windows upgrade in a business world increasingly turning to thin clients (older, less powefully specc'd desktops that are fine for running software hosted on the internet, or a virtualised server).
Salesforce.com has an obvious motivation for its critique. Like other software-as-a-service products that run over the internet (like New Zealand’s Xero), it prefers to focus on the state of broadband, and other web-related issues, rather than what customers PCs happen to run on.
Microsoft is not blind to this development, however. Following this month’s relatively straightforward Windows 7 launch, things are likely to get a lot more go-go next year with the launch of a cloud computing version of Windows, codenamed Azure.
But even if Azure manages to dispatch the cloud competition from Google and Amazon, it faces another competitor, this time down on the desktop: Google’s ChromeOS which, from mid-2010, will go head-to-head with Windows.
For Microsoft New Zealand country manager Kevin Ackhurst, it’s all good.
“I think our customers are significantly committed to Windows 7,” said Mr Ackhurst, who noted that more than 50,000 Kiwis have downloaded the preview version.
“I don't think Google's Chrome OS is a threat to Windows 7. There are a billion computers in the world. I think innovative and competition in the industry is good, if together we can increase computer availability and access then that's good.
“One thing that really excites me is how Windows 7 will be able to extend the
life of computers and save our customers money,” said Mr Ackhurst.
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