MS: People will want Windows 7 not Chrome

Windows 7 - has a head start
Windows 7 - has a head start

Microsoft believes that Windows 7 is well positioned to hold off any threat from the forthcoming Chrome OS, insisting that the early delay in catering for netbooks is a dim and distant memory.

By the time Chrome OS arrives in the second half of 2010, Windows 7 - including a starter edition built specifically for low power, low cost netbooks - will have had close to a year in the market following its launch in October 2009.

The UK's Marketing Lead for Windows, Leila Martine, believes that the scalability of Windows 7, and the company's lengthy experience in the OS market, will ultimately see it triumph.

"We haven't seen anything from Chrome yet," Martine told TechRadar. "We've seen concepts and it's interesting but we haven't seen anything so it's hard to speculate.

"What I can say is that if we think back to the landscape and what we have learned in the sector is this is another chapter in the long story of the OS."

What people want

Microsoft's sluggishness in responding to the burgeoning netboook market, which saw Linux gain a boost compared to the resource intensive Windows Vista has now moved into a huge market lead for the company, after it allowed companies to install Vista's predecessor XP.

Martine believes that this turnaround indicates more than anything that the public are still looking at Windows as their preferred option – and that this will not change when Chrome OS – an operating system that will lean heavily on cloud computing and online functionality – finally arrives from Google.

"I'd love to say that [the turnaround in netbooks] was the great marketing but what we ended up getting was feedback from retailers about return rates [of Linux netbooks] which were in excess of 25 per cent," explained Martine.

"The reason why, and this is the thing that I would say about Chrome, is what people want in today's environment.

"Thinking about their digital lifestyle they're thinking I want my iTunes, I want to be able to have my digital photography and I want to have my Microsoft office and photo software.

"I think that compatibility and familiarity was telling in terms of people voting with their feet, so I feel very good about where we are at in the netbook market based on consumer demands and I think we're even better positioned in term of our strategy with Windows 7."

Clouds still forecast

Martine acknowledges that cloud computing is becoming increasingly important, but thinks that it is too early for people to invest all their faith in keeping their data and programs entirely online.

"I don't think that we are looking at 2011 for a heavily dominant services model, added Martine. "People will continue to evolve in that but the OS also evolves with them.

"I think also the majority of people don't feel comfortable only having their personal information in the cloud."

Of course, Google may believe otherwise – but it remains to be seen if Chrome OS can be the Linux operating system that finally pulls market share away from the omnipresent Windows.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.