Microsoft hopes for new start with Windows 7

October 22, 2009 7:06:46 PM PDT
Microsoft unveiled the latest version of its signature computer operating system. Computer makers are hoping Windows 7 will boost sluggish sales.

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Now that it has hit retail stores, consumers are anxious to see if the Windows 7 operating system will be an improvement over Vista, Microsoft's previous Windows edition that was widely panned and prone to crashing.

Microsoft has a lot riding on it. Windows generates close to half of the company's total $58 billion in annual sales.

"It is stable, the features that it does do definitely work, it's a big focus -- stability on Windows 7 and right when I tried out the beta and I was using it, I've noticed that," Best Buy employee Jay Parafina said.

Microsoft is showcasing how Windows 7 can manipulate graphics by touching the screen and using stretch gestures. Most consumers do not have access to the devices yet to make that happen.

"It's an upgrade that you will get at some point, but you can definitely take your time for it," PCWorld Magazine Editorial Director Steve Fox said.

With an upgrade costing from $119 to $219, Fox is not convinced people need to run out and get it.

He does point out the look resembles Apple's operating system, Snow Leopard.

"There are a lot of things you'll see in Windows 7 that actually look very much like Apple sort of innovations, and I'd say it's probably behind in some areas and ahead in others, I think we're pretty much at parity here," Fox said.

The real test for Microsoft is seeing if it can get business users to replace a much older version of Windows XP, which many are still using even though it came out a decade ago.

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