I hate Vista. I really really do. So much so that I've taken the unprecedented step (for me) to try the Windows 7 beta on my laptop. If it doesn't 'splode there, maybe I'll transfer it to PanzerCat, my Quadcore 3ghz beast. It's already obvious that the Windows 7 is a more nimble OS then it predecessors and fairly powerful. I'm only a handful of days into my trial run, but I'm realizing somebody in Redmond, WA is a genius.
A goddamn genius.
Normally those aren't words you would associate with a Windows product or even Microsoft at large. I would barely attribute them to Bill Gates even while readily acknowledging his business prowess. No, this genius isn't aimed at the operating system at all, but instead, its marketing. At this very moment, you can run on over to the Windows 7 beta page, a mostly intact version of the final release canidate. Anybody can, and for free no less. In fact, it will remain free for about a year as to allow them time to work out any remaining bugs and ease any transitions that may take place, and this is where the genius comes in.
After the year or so is up, Windows will auto-cripple itself, shutting down every two hours with a friendly reminder that beta is over and hey, a licensed copy would do you a world of good right about now. You now have two choices availible to you. First, crack the bitch, not that i would ever advocate such an action amiright? Second, simply buy a license. Or you can burn it all down and revert to a previous Windows/free OS. Now if you've been using the free beta for that long, my guess is you've made yourself at home... Documents, games, music, pr0n, etc. Blowing away 7 in favor of a different OS is probably going to be a pain in the nads. Likewise, finding a crack that will work is going to be an inconvenience at best, locking you out of key updates at worst; assuming you even have the technical expertise to apply said crack in the first place.
In short, Microsoft has probably positioned themselves for the best, most effective voluntary adoption of their OS to date, one where the easiest option may very well be to simply cough up the funds to continue life uninterrupted. In fact, it reminds me of all the free to play MMO open betas as of late... They're beta only in the fact that they're looking to advertise their product more than work out any bugs actually there. Even citing stress testing is a stretch at that point. Back to Windows lucky number Sleven, I wouldn't put it past somebody in the marketing arm of Microsoft to pull the same shit, especially effective just off the release of their attempt at Vista with everybody clamoring for something better. Windows 7 fills that bill. It's pretty and sleak and until about the end of this year, it's free to use. I'm even considering buying it short of it nuking my PC and I try never to buy an OS if I can help it. I would have stayed with XP, but my quad core needed something beefier and options at that altitude are limited.
But either way, my hat is off to you, Microsoft marketing dudes. I'll probably never know if this move to release public beta was intentional, but well played. I'll also try and fit in some gaming notes in my next entry, just to get a general feel for its MMO potential.