Microsoft Surprises With XPM In Windows 7 To Help Sway Users From XP

This week’s release of Windows 7 RC1 to the MSDN community, and next week to the general public, represents another significant milestone towards a market release of Windows 7. Given Microsoft is labeling this RC1, I’d expect to see at least one, if not more, RC releases before the final launch. Microsoft clearly wants to get it right with Windows 7 and based on experiences with the beta and early reports about RC1, they want to put out a quality release. Early reports are that performance has improved yet again, which will be welcomed with open arms by Vista users.

But the release of Windows 7 RC1 isn’t the only positive step. Microsoft announced Windows 7 will include something called Windows XP Mode, or XPM. Essentially XPM is virtualized Windows XP apps running in Windows 7 without the hassle of running a full Virtual PC environment. Microsoft has also addressed licensing issues, giving Windows 7 users permission to use Windows XP within XPM as part of their  Windows 7 EULA. Preston Gralla does a good job of describing how all this works in his Windows 7 preview article.

Adding XPM to Windows 7 has taken everyone by surprise. No one was expecting it. But it shows how far Microsoft is willing to go to try and bring XP users onto Windows 7.  XPM addresses those holdouts because of apps incompatible with Windows 7. It doesn’t address Windows XP users who just don’t see the value of plunking down more of their hard earned change for a new Microsoft operating system, as I previously wrote about.

If Microsoft’s willing to bring out XPM to help sway XP users to Windows 7, what else will they be willing to offer that might sweeten the pot? I wouldn’t be surprised to see more things like XPM in Windows 7 RC2 (or RC3 if there is one) prior to the Windows 7 official release.

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