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At, Microsoft, we’ve just passed the Windows 7 one-year anniversary and as we reflect on the year and look ahead, we want to make sure we continue working with our customers so they have a clear roadmap on how to maximize their Windows 7 investments.
I personally have the privilege of spending quite a bit of time with customers. In fact, in the last 5 weeks I have visited 5 different countries and the feedback from customers from around the world is incredibly consistent. Customers of all sizes tell me it is not a question of “if” they will move to Windows 7 but a question of “when.”
They consistently tell me that the reason for their rapid adoption is that, uniquely to Windows 7, they are seeing both great end user enthusiasm for the product with features like Snap, Jump Lists and Shake. And they are experiencing great IT value through enhanced security with features like BitLocker and improved management.The ability for end users to have great satisfaction and, at the same time, the ability to take cost out of the organization is driving customers to move to Windows 7 quickly.
As customers make this transition to their next generation desktop environment, not only is the feedback from customers consistent but so are the questions they are asking. In moving their evaluation and deployment, they are looking for guidance as they grapple with industry trends and best practices to maximize their investments. I hope the information I provide below will help with that process.
In talking with numerous customers over the last year, they’ve shared a lot about their experiences with Windows 7, but they’ve also asked for guidance on how they should think about key industry trends, most notably - consumerization of IT, virtualization and the cloud.
Consumerization of IT – The lines between home and work are blurring by the minute. As end users experience the richness of consumer products and applications like Instant Messenger, Hotmail and Facebook, they have increasingly high expectations on the ways they want to communicate and collaborate at work. This puts increased pressure on IT as you look to provide great end user experiences but at the same time ensure that they are secure and well managed.
Windows has itself been a beneficiary of this trend – with over 350 million PCs sold in the last year, and over 200 million to consumers – there has been an increasing demand on IT by end users to move to Windows 7 as they experience the benefits at home. At Microsoft we believe we are in a unique position to partner with IT and provide guidance as one of the only companies that has both a very large consumer business (400 million+ Hotmail users, for example) and a provider of enterprise solutions. We believe it is both a challenge for IT and an opportunity to embrace.
Desktop Virtualization – This topic has received a lot of interest recently from customers, especially how it applies to their future desktop strategy and deployment plans. As they move to Windows 7, we are seeing customers widely adopt the virtualization technologies. This helps IT simplify deployment, migration and management of their desktop environments enabling faster service delivery, as well as centralize and secure data, and makes applications and user state available regardless of locale.
Leveraging these benefits can get customers to Windows 7 more quickly and easily, so we recommend all our Windows 7 customers look into how desktop virtualization can help their migration.
At Microsoft we have a comprehensive desktop virtualization solution from the desktop to the datacenter. In a nutshell, desktop virtualization will make tasks easier through technology and Microsoft virtualization provides the ability to separate the desktop into layers: User State, App, and OS. Since there are several virtualization technologies to consider, we have recently added a new Microsoft Desktop Virtualization zone on Springboard which offers guidance and tools to help IT Professionals learn about our desktop virtualization technology.
Cloud – As you may have heard, Microsoft is “all in” when it comes to the cloud. And really the reason is simple – it adds alternatives for customers who want flexible environments, be it to better serve remote users, decrease overhead or to ease management. Taking advantage of the cloud has also opened us up to a lot of innovation, take for example Windows Live, Internet Explorer 9, Office 365, and of course Windows Intune.
When Windows customers of all sizes think about the cloud, they should be considering our latest addition to the family, Windows Intune. Our new cloud service offers simplified PC management and security in a single, easy-to-use solution. We released the second public beta in July to positive customer and partner feedback and we are on track to deliver the final version in 2011.
Although today Windows Intune is designed for businesses with unmanaged or lightly managed PC’s that need basic management, our long-term strategy is that Window Intune will integrate and deliver similarly rich functionality of our on premise products, like System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and the MDOP, via the cloud.
Windows 7 one year later
It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since we launched Windows 7, but I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the past year. Without exception, Windows 7 has been the most successful release of Windows ever into the market place. Business customers and consumers alike are adopting Windows 7 very rapidly. Let’s start with the fact that with over 240 million licenses have been sold. This rapid adoption is re-enforced by what we are seeing in the PC market and by analyst feedback:
We have seen many customers around the world move very rapidly to deploy Windows 7 in their environment. Other customers are eagerly seeking to identify best practices as they embark upon their evaluation, planning and roll out. As we have worked with these early adopter customers, we identified a consistent, structured approach that they have taken. We have packaged this guidance from the early adopter customers and created a standard set of offerings called “Jumpstart” offerings (Jumpstart Proof of Concept & Jumpstart Production Pilot). These offerings provide a consistent and structured approach that leverage tools and best practices to accelerate the evaluation and deployment of Windows 7 so customers can maximize their investment. The offerings provide sample remediation of business critical applications, demonstration of virtualization through application virtualization, and a proposal for gold image full deployment. The offerings are available from Microsoft consulting services and our partners. We have also recently released the Jumpstart Proof of Concept, which provides this IP as a free self-service program, freely available to download from our Springboard site.
In addition, we have a wide range of free tools and guidance available from our Springboard site for IT Professionals to download. There is a great set of tools available to automate the entire migration process – from migrating user files, to installing Windows and applications. To get started, we recommend customers check out the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT), System Center Configuration Manager, and Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT).
In conclusion, it’s been quite a year for Windows 7! Customers of all sizes are moving very quickly to adopt Windows 7. We welcome customer feedback so that we can continue to refine the tools and share best practices widely to assist all customers in making the right decisions as they move. All signs are pointing to the fact that the time is right for customers to deploy Windows 7 and we are very optimistic about Windows 7 in 2011.
You mentioned consumerization IT, a good example of this is the new Microsoft Lync Instant Messaging client, its gorgeous.
But why does Windows 7 force auto arrange and auto refresh upon its users. Except for the desktop, I can no longer do what Windows 3.0 could do. That is, freely arrange my files and photos in the way I want to. I cannot extract files into another folder with lots of files because they get scattered. This is something I expected at the very least to change in SP1 but the release candidate shows no such signs. I request Microsoft to take a look at the number of complaint threads on Microsoft's Technet Social and MSDN forums about auto arrange and auto refresh. I know Microsoft does not make design changes in service packs but this is a minor change that will have a major effect on how we manage files.
I'm really looking forward to 2011. I think it will be the year that devices like eReaders and Slates become essential PC companions and for many the primary means for browsing the internet. I'm excited about what Microsoft may be showing off at CES around the Slate form factor. Will we get to see Microsoft's official UI optimized OS for Slates? Hope so.