Over at ZD-Net, two well respected technology writers are bringing up a few facts, rumors, that may spell out what Windows 7 may be. Both Mary Jo Foley and Ed Bott who have both been following the ins and outs of Microsoft for many years, have presented some interesting points of view as to where Windows 7 is heading. Some of what they say makes sense and also disturbing at the same time. Disturbing because Windows 7 could turn out to be just a finally polished copy of Vista.

Ed Bott says:

For Windows 7, I expect the beta pool to be far, far smaller than it was during either the Vista or XP projects, with confidentiality agreements strictly enforced, and I would be surprised to see more than four widely released builds before RTM.

I believe that Ed might be right on the money. In past beta’s, Microsoft offered a public beta for both Vista and XP testing software. But I believe that this time around they will limit the product to people who will actually test it and report back bugs. Also by using a NDA [Non Disclosure Agreement], they limit the amount of information that is made public, prior to the time Windows 7 is released.

I am not a big fan of NDA for one simple reason. Though you get to test the new software, you have to keep your mouth shut about what you find, the good, the bad and the ugly. I recall a beta release for Vista, which was made available to MVP’s and had a NDA as well, and I couldn’t speak about it, while others who blog were free to talk about it openly.

Mary Jo Foley reportes:

I got a gander at the latest test build of Windows 7 briefly (courtesy of a source of mine) and was not allowed to take any screenshots. But it is real, it does exist and it is, indeed, in certain testers’ hands inside and outside the company.

She went on to state that in Paint and Wordpad there was a ribbon like feature similar to what Office uses. WOW! That’s exciting. 🙂

I’m going to take a huge guess here, but I would not be totally surprised if Windows 7 has minimal changes compared to Vista. Why? Microsoft invested a huge amount of time and energy in Vista, and still is having troubles convincing the public and businesses that Vista is ‘sweet’. Case in point are the Gates-Seinfeld commercials which are designed to convince us that Vista is good. Though the original purpose was to counter the Apple-PC ads,  I believe that Microsoft is trying to convince more folks that they should make the switch to Vista.

What do you think? Will Windows 7 just be more window dressing for Vista, or will it really be a vast improvement over Vista itself? Share your expertise and opinions with all of us.

Comments as always welcomed.

Ed Bott

Mary Jo Foley