I had a revelation recently about Microsoft Windows 7. I know how Microsoft Windows 7 could be a success. Sell two, and only two, versions of the product. These two versions should differ so greatly that every person who buys a copy will know immediately which version they want to purchase. It would be easy to tell which you want to buy if one cost $99 and the other cost $999.
$999 Microsoft Windows 7 - Code Name "High Dollar"
This version should come with everything you will ever want from Microsoft; all the client software they sell, and a Client Access License (CAL) for every piece of server software they sell. Do you run Outlook connected to Exchange? Good, the license is there. You still need to buy Exchange for your server but that would be all you'd need - the product license for the server-based product. Every "High Dollar" Microsoft Windows 7 PC could access it at no additional charge. Use Office? Which version? Don't worry about it! It's all in there, even Project and Visio and Access along with Word and Excel and PowerPoint. Run SharePoint and connect to SQL Server. Think about how much simpler it would be for a business if they didn't need to count licenses anymore. If every client machine had a "High Dollar" license they're done. Plus, think about how difficult it would be for any competing vendor to sell a server product with client license fees? What, you expect us to pay you for each client that connects to your Business Intelligence, Directory, Database, Portal, etc. solution? We can run the Microsoft server product without additional client license fees.
$99 Microsoft Windows 7 - Code Name "Blank Slate"
This version should come with nothing you don't want from Microsoft; no text editor, no browser, no calculator, not even Solitaire. "Blank Slate" is just an Operating System - software that controls the operation of a computer and directs the processing of programs (as by assigning storage space in memory and controlling input and output functions).(1) Microsoft Windows 7 could be the best platform ever if that was all it tried to be. All they need to do is a little marketing around this new platform. Small applications become widgets. Partners and vendors can create and sell anything from the simplest tool to an all-encompassing specialized desktop replacement. Open up a store like iTunes. If you want a clock in the lower, right-hand corner go find one for 99 cents at the iWindows App Store. There should be 20 to choose from, many will be free while one costs $1 million and claims it can actually control time. Basically don't do anything half-baked, simply don't do it at all. PC vendors can add value by installing their set of widgets for you. All the cool kids would be buying new widgets from the iWindows App Store every night and their PC would go from being a personal computer to a personalized computer.
So there you have it, free advice from me to the richest man on the planet because I know how Microsoft Windows 7 could be a success.
1. Operating System. (2008). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
Retrieved December 10, 2008, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/operating system