A New, Improved Microsoft?

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Windows 7 is finished, on time. Ready to take on Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) Snow Leopard and make the industry forget about Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Chrome OS.

Well, OK. We needn't get ahead of ourselves. But I can't be the only one surprised by this, right? As good as Windows 7 appears, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) has a long history of being late with Windows upgrades. Vista, fortunately just a bad dream now, suffered numerous delays. And yet here we are in July, and Windows 7 is code complete.

"It feels great to be here on time," Tami Reller, the Windows unit's chief financial officer, told's Ina Fried. I'll bet it does. That's not something we see from Redmond often.

Please don't take that as a dig. Microsoft has a huge job when it comes to upgrading Windows, a decades-old operating system with millions of lines of code. Delays are to be expected with such complex, technology-driven products.

And it's not as if Microsoft is alone. Mr. Softy's Seattle-area neighbor, Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) , still hasn't realized its 787 Dreamliner. Take-Two Interactive (Nasdaq: TTWO  ) is late with BioShock 2. Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) in May announced yet another delay in the launch of its latest Itanium processor.

This time, a new and improved Mr. Softy is ahead of them all. Kudos, sirs. The on-time sweater looks good on you. Here's hoping that you get to keep wearing it.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers owned stock and options positions in Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy wonders if it's possible to domesticate wildflowers.

Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (7)

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  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2009, at 2:36 PM, LuizDeSa wrote:

    This guy does not understand a bit of Operating Systems. Windows 7 is just a short, concise version of Vista. Easy to downgrade things and after all with all the billions Microsoft make due to its monopoly it is only fair we expect something that actually works.

    One more thing, I do not want to fly a plane controlled by any version of Windows. Do you?

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2009, at 4:58 PM, slavelle85 wrote:

    Byrne: +1

    Windows 7, even in Release Candidate form, is the most stable system I have run on either my desktop or laptop system. I use it full time on both systems and there have been relatively few issues, mostly to do with specific hardware addons on the laptop. I have worked around them without problems and I feel confident that these will be addressed, since this is a fairly mainstream laptop model.

    Compatibility with old applications is vastly improved in Windows 7, thanks to the Virtual Windows XP mode which allows those apps to run in a Virtual PC environment - and with the updates that have been made to VPC, it all works seemlessly within Windows 7 (read: no "remote desktop" looking interface with another set of start menus and such - unless you want that), so you don't need to be a geek to use it.

    Why is this a big deal? Obviously because lagacy apps are going to work (most likely), but there's another benefit here: MS doesn't have to spend time dumbing down everything in the name of campatibility; instead, they can focus on improving the OS without the concern of "breaking" old stuff.

    There are a TON of workflow optimizations that really help as well, specifically in some of the taskbar updates that have been made.

    Speed, stability, and compatibility are three strong words these days and Windows 7 seems to have addressed all three. I look forward to the completed version of this OS and the happiness I can have in recommending it instead of constantly defending Vista or having to compensate with XP downgrades (including the price premium that was put on them).

    I run an IT support company for local small businesses and was not compelled to advise folks to upgrade to Vista, but this version changes things in a big way. And it's really great that the RC has been available to the public to validate if it will work with your "line of business" applications or not.

    Scott Lavelle -

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2009, at 10:00 PM, VegasMartin wrote:

    Microsoft is going down. They're company's name has been getting more tarnished every single year. With each release, there is a new disaster, and Windows Vista was a nightmare.

    Their Internet Explorer 8 isn't doing them any favors. One bug after another. Why can't they just copy Firefox or just give up and let Firefox take over the browser market? I'm a web designer and the headaches you have to deal with for Internet Explorer have made me hate this company.

    The new Microsoft Word. Don't even get me started on it. I switched to Sun Mircosystem's Open Office, which is free, easy to use, and much better than the new Word.

    They can't compete with Google with Bing. I've tried using Bing, and I'm not a fan. It looks cool, but the search results are lacking, and the new features are just an inconvenience. The only thing Bing wins at is the image search.

    This stock will trade down to $20, which might be a buy before the Windows 7 releases, and this stock should get back to $25, but I don't see it breaking $30. They are constantly losing market share to Apple and this stock should underperform the Nasdaq in the future.

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2009, at 4:43 PM, mpendragon wrote:

    They are hitting diminishing returns with a lot of their efforts and they always seem to be playing catch up with Google and Apple.

    - Windows XP was pretty good and there still isn't a compelling reason to upgrade to their newer offerings. The situation is even worse for Office where they seem to be changing things for no good reason (see ribbons).

    - PC gaming pushed a lot of the technology forward in the 1990s and early 2000s and that helped Microsoft dominate the desktop market but modern gaming consoles have cut deeply into that. Any computer can email/browse/chat/stream video so they don't really have gaming to differentiate them as much as they did before.

    - Computers have become a fashion conscious thing now and Apple has more aesthetic appeal, it's generally easer to use, and it's trendy. I'm a PC user but a Powerbook is getting harder to pass up every day.

    - I'm not sure why this is the case but Microsoft just can't seem to succeed with web search. They've been trying for years and they just can't seem to win.

    - Whether it is true or not Microsoft i perceived as making inferior products and what's worse is they generally do it later than their competitors so it often looks like a crappy knock-off:

    Ipod is much better than Zune

    Google is better than Bing

    OS X is better than Vista

  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2009, at 4:56 PM, crawlfish wrote:

    I use Linux and open source programs. Microsoft's old business model is dying. They are not a growth company any more and will not return to one. If I wanted to invest in a operating system company I would pick Red Hat or Novel . Computers are getting cheaper all the time and development is moving to the cloud. There is no reason to pay Microsoft several hundred dollars for an operating system for one computer that maybe is cheaper than the Windows operating system. The cloud doesn't care what operating system is used.The developing world is moving to open source and we all will eventual follow. Microsoft will survive but not without major restructuring like IBM had to go through to make it. There maybe money to be made at that time with Microsoft.

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