Death by upgrade
In fact, the process will be so painful that, for many XP users, the easiest solution may be to buy a new PC preloaded with Windows 7, if they can afford such a purchase in these dire economic times. In fact, that’s the option Microsoft recommends for XP users. (Conveniently, this option also helps Microsoft’s partners that make PCs.)
But Windows XP users, including the millions who have recently snapped up cheap, XP-powered netbooks, will first have to wipe out everything on their hard disks in order to install Windows 7. on their current machines. In fact, Microsoft doesn’t even call migrating to Windows 7 from XP an “upgrade.” It refers to it as a “clean install,” or a “custom installation.”
This is nuts. The Macalope is simply flabbergasted that Microsoft could have screwed this up so badly. No amount of begging and clinging to the legs of those unfortunate enough to wander into a Microsoft store at the mall is going to make people not realize they are basically starting all over again. And when you’re starting all over again, why not consider a Mac? Which you can buy two doors down?
And that’s not ever getting to the complex decision tree you have to navigate to figure out which version of the OS you need. Good lord.
Apple doesn’t do everything right (see: App Store), but they’ve sure got this process down in a way Microsoft simply seems either unable to do because of the complex installed base or unwilling to do because the company is a lumbering ape. With Apple, there’s one version of the OS which upgrades versions going back several years.
And Apple certainly nailed the timing on releasing a cheap OS upgrade during an economic slump. Microsoft, meanwhile, is telling most of its users they should probably go ahead and buy a new machine.
Maybe Windows 7 is just so super-cool and Microsoft will spend so much money on marketing that everyone will rush out and spend up to $220 on a freakin’ upgrade, but right now this looks like insanity.