In an entry of Microsoft Subnet, on Network World, Mitchell Ashley lets out the news that the previously vaporous Windows 7 will be previewed at the Wall Street journal’s All Things Digital conference.

Then he almost immediately recants that, saying he is not sure if ‘7’ will be shown. This is the sort of ‘smoke and mirrors’ journalism Microsoft employed about Windows 95 back when no one was sure when it would debut, and IBM had OS/2 out and working. (This type of writing is exactly what caused a few magazines to lose major market share, being accused of reporting what Mr. Gates wanted them to, rather than what was.)

The author also states that Bill Gates will be there. No matter what else one thinks about Mr. Gates, the man must be given credit for some of the slickest maneuvering in the history of business. It is for that reason that I’m betting that all that will be displayed is a description of ‘7’, with all the appropriate hype, and Mr. Gates on hand, to answer all questions in an appropriately ambiguous manner.

Of course Mr. Ballmer is also said to be there, so it will be interesting to see how tightly controlled he is going to be with Gates nearby. This should mean no dancing, monkeyboy or otherwise.

Most talking heads don’t believe that ‘7’ could possibly be so different from Vista, as the development time is just not there. Still, if ‘7’ is a pared and proper Vista, who would care if it is not ground breaking? After all, in its first incarnation, Windows XP was simply Windows 2000, ‘all dolled up’ in Windows 95 outer garments. It worked marvelously, and the consumers we happy.

Mr. Ashley ponders about how ‘7’ might be different, stating that fewer problems with the registry would be nice. I think all would agree – but a step further, and more on the way to being more Unix-like, which after all is the direction MS has been taking, would be to banish the registry to the land of bad memories.

As far as that goes, who is to say that ‘7’ is not going to be more related to Windows XP? Windows XP Service Pack 3, without the flaws, and with a few new bits here and there, and a more realistic price point would keep most of the buying public very happy.

Yes, how many businesses would jump on a Windows 7 that was a proven extension of Windows 5, and a guarantee of no registry corruption upon the current systems.

I can start naming them now…

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