Just How Much Is Riding on Windows 7 For Microsoft?

And will Windows 7 help Microsoft turn around disappointing earnings reports?

In a word, Windows 7 means "everything" for Microsoft's future. We can all talk about the insane number of SharePoint licenses sold, how well Windows Server 2008 has been put together, Bing's surprising rise in the search market, and exciting moves by Microsoft into Online Services for hosted Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and Office Web Online. But the bottom line is if Windows 7 flops, it's a steep slippery slope to the bottom for Redmond, with lots of competitors from Google to Apple ready to further sling grease on the skids for Microsoft's fall. Everything. That's how much is riding on Windows 7 for Microsoft.The Windows 7 beta and RTM versions have been stellar and have turned back many who soured on Microsoft because of Vista, at least enough to see Windows 7 in a positive light. Microsoft haters aside of course, as they'll never see anything good come out of Redmond. But even Windows 7's positive aura that's been glowing since early this year hasn't staved off people moving to Apple Macs, evidenced by Apple's tremendous record earnings and record for Macs sold.But even if Windows 7 is wildly successful, it won't allow Microsoft to let up on their move to the cloud with Microsoft Online services and Windows Azure. Microsoft has already faltered there on two fronts because of the Danger data loss, and from own personal experience, the cancellation of the Live Framework Technical Preview, a sort of Live Mesh for applications. I thought there was a lot of promise for Live Framework but apparently Microsoft doesn't. And if we look at Windows Mobile, Microsoft's not only failed, they've shown utter incompetence by rolling over and handing the mobile market over to Apple, Blackberry and Google. And the Windows Live services still have yet to prove themselves.SharePoint's going gangbusters. Windows Server 2008 is very solid. Hyper-V has been well accepted and holds its own relatively well. Office 2010 won't blow you away but the Technical Preview is sold, and the Office Web Online offering holds promise.Microsoft is far from being out of the woods yet. A huge Windows 7 success could turn the momentum for Microsoft. And a lack luster success or falter by Windows 7 will bring out calls of Microsoft's pending doom and prove critics like Gartner right.

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