updated 10:00 am EDT, Tue September 23, 2008
Win 7 to Drop Apps
Microsoft will make many of its previously standard bundled apps optional with the launch of Windows 7, the company said late Monday. While Vista came with copies of Windows Mail, Movie Maker and Photo Gallery regardless of the edition, the sequel operating system will now remove those entirely and make available only downloadable versions that can tap into Windows Live. The company argues that the move will ensure a quicker turnaround for the launch of the next Windows version and that it lets Microsoft work with firms in the future to customize the experience.
No explanation is given for how this would work, though Microsoft in the aftermath of antitrust rulings has had to agree to deals which saw different web browsers and other apps replace its own in PC bundles.
The update also saves Microsoft the challenge of supporting two distinct but functionally equivalent apps in some cases.
Microsoft's acknowledgment of speed as an issue supports some as-yet tentative claims that the company is attempting to hurry the Windows 7 release for late 2009 or earlier as well as to avoid the years-long delay for Windows Vista. The company has officially penned in an early 2010 launch for the update but is also facing a hostile reaction to Vista from home and business users, both of whom have encountered early compatibility and performance issues that are believed to be hurting Microsoft's public image.
The company recently started a $300 million ad campaign that includes Jerry Seinfeld and other celebrities in a bid to drive Vista sales before Windows 7 arrives. Microsoft's most recent ad launches a minor attack on Apple's "Get a Mac" ads by claiming that they present an unfair stereotype of Windows users and their experience.
By contrast, Apple has typically had a relatively short release cycle of between one to two years for major operating system updates by splitting its iLife creative suite away from Mac OS X. The move lets the software developer ship updates to either program independently of one another, although Apple to date has made no plans to drop its e-mail application.