The more I hear about Windows 7, the curiouser it gets. In this interview, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is unable to articulate a “major feature” that would entice people to buy it. He alludes to better performance, “cleanup” of the user interface, multi-touch technology, and better information management tools—summing it all up as, “Windows Vista, a lot better.”


So here we have Microsoft planning a “major release” in Windows 7, which is essentially a new and improved Vista. But because Vista was such a dud, Microsoft ran away from the Vista brand name and into the safe, nearly generic confines of “Windows 7.”

This is more than a naming issue. This is a product development problem combined with an unfocused competitive brand positioning.

Tellingly, Ballmer states in the interview that “no Windows release has to have people want(ing) to use it right away.”

There seems to be an assumption (which is likely true) that anyone using the Windows platform will upgrade to a newer release eventually. I suppose if you own 90% of the market share, with a customer base locked into your products by virtue of your technology platform, then you can release major products without a clear brand positioning and a corresponding benefit-driven brand name.

Still. Just seems to me that Microsoft could speed up adoption of Windows 7 if it had a focused brand positioning so that customers can quickly understand what the product offers.

And yes, actually want to use it right away.