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Windows 7: Business Customers Provide Early Feedback on Windows 7

11 May 2009   #1

Business Customers Provide Early Feedback on Windows 7

Hi, I’m Rich Reynolds and I am the General Manager for the Windows Commercial Marketing organization. I lead the team that drives the marketing efforts for Windows for our business customers across the Enterprise, Mid-Market and Small Business segments, along with IT Pro community engagement.

More than a week ago we shipped the Windows 7 Release Candidate to IT pros and developers, and have been taking in lots of great feedback since then. Our number one priority all along has been to deliver a well-planned, high-quality Windows release that delivers what our business customers want. The team and I have been focused on identifying and building a product that addresses our customers’ needs, and based on customer feedback, we believe we’re on the right track.

Today my boss, Bill Veghte, announced our plans to accelerate the timeframe for making Windows 7 available at retail to all customers in time for the holiday shopping season. With Windows 7 coming soon, I encourage you to download and test theWindows 7 Release Candidate in your environment and let us know your feedback. I talk to customers every day, and I wanted to share a few themes are coming through loud and clear.

Customers are telling us they worry about costs, keeping up with compliance requirements, and about the demands that mobility trends put on their infrastructure as they try to balance users’ productivity with the need to maintain efficiency and security. At its most basic level, they expect an operating system that works great. For an enterprise that means it delivers advanced security and data protection, is easy to deploy and manage, and introduces innovation to make people more productive while also retaining compatibility with hundreds or even thousands of business-critical third-party and LOB applications. Of course, these economic conditions bring unique challenges as well – such as tight budgets, and the need to be as efficient as possible.

From the initial planning of Windows 7 through to delivery of the Release Candidate, we have been deeply engaged with partners and early adopter customers to ensure we are listening to your needs and delivering a high quality product. We are working with early adopters that represent a range of global industries. These include Del Monte, British Airport Authority, Transelectrica, Continental Airlines, Pella Corporation, Bombardier Aerospace, the City of Miami, and T-Systems (Deutsche Telekom’s corporate customer unit). Partners like Intel, Dimension Data and Getronics have also helped us develop Windows 7 for their customers and also plan to deploy in their own corporate environments. Overall, we’re hearing good things. Here are a few examples:

  • Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, Bombardier Aerospace designs and manufactures products in the aerospace and rail transportation sectors. They’re very interested in MDOP and BitLocker – here’s what their CTO, Pietro Greco, has to say: “We are interested in Windows 7 for its enhanced security and improved manageability which will allow us to create a more productive and efficient environment.”
  • Pella Corporation, based in Iowa, designs, manufactures and installs windows and doors. They’re moving from Windows XP to Windows 7. Here’s what Jim Thomas, director of IT Operations and Infrastructure, has to say – early in the process – about their deployment: “From initial testing of Windows 7 in our environment, we’ve already uncovered reasons to believe our investments in time and resources for Windows 7 will be worth it.”
  • Continental Airlines’ Managing Director, Global Infrastructure, Eric Craig says: “Continental depends upon technology, but we’re not a technology company, we’re an airline.  If my team can provide an easily managed, low cost, and functionally rich infrastructure, then Continental can focus its technology resources on business specific services.  We do this with the most modern Windows environment.”
  • The City of Miami is putting Windows 7 through its paces. Like many of our customers, they like the manageability and security features. They recently held a technology day, where they demoed Windows 7 and Manuel A. Diaz, the Mayor of Miami’s question was “How soon can I get it on my desktop?” We hope that’s what a lot of people will be saying soon!
We’re encouraged by the customer and partner feedback we’re receiving and will continue to work hard to deliver a very high quality product that meets our customers demanding business needs.

More customer insight can be found at our Talking About Windows site. Check it out to hear the back stories from the engineers who developed Windows 7, and the early adoption experiences from IT professionals like you. It’s a place for you to find out more about Windows 7, join the conversation and ask questions. We’d love to hear your feedback.

To give you a sense for some of the features are customers are excited about – a customer in the manufacturing industry in Europe was particularly interested in the DirectAccess capability (also delivered via Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, with IPsec and IPv6 implementation). This technology allows users to access corporate resources from the road without having to start a VPN connection. Coupled with Federated Search capability, this customer saw the opportunity to provide easier access to the information that their people need from wherever they are, while at the same time offsetting costs associated with their existing VPN solution today.

From a technology perspective, BranchCache is also getting a lot of attention. A few weeks ago I talked to a big US retailer and they were thrilled about BranchCache. This capability, delivered by Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, allows the caching of frequently accessed data locally in a branch office. This reduces user wait time, saves network bandwidth, and reduces the need for servers in multiple branch offices. They liked the idea of their employees spending less time in the office and more time serving customers on the store floor.

And almost universally, business customers are excited about the BitLocker To Go capability. This not only allows users to easily encrypt the USB drives, it also provides an ability to enforce encryption on removable storage devices. A European bank was telling me how excited they are about this capability to protect their data, and they saw the opportunity to offset costs associated with their existing encryption solution.

I’m anxious to hear about your experiences using Windows 7. As you try it out, chime in below and let us know what you think. For business customers who have not yet started, I recommend you download and test the Windows 7 Release Candidate. The final version is coming soon and we want you not only to be excited about it, but prepared. At this site you’ll be able to download the Release Candidate and take advantage of a whole host of tools and guidance for IT Professionals to help you prepare. We look forward to your feedback.


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