Windows 7: It’s not you, it’s us. Really.

CNET blogger Don Reisinger has an interesting take on the biggest threat to the success of Windows 7: Journalists. His reason?

Regardless of whether you believe in the greatness of Steve Jobs or you choose to use only Velocity Micro machines out of your hatred for Apple, one thing remains: the vast majority of journalists use Macs to write their stories and have a deep-seeded [sic] love for Apple products.

Unless Steve Jobs has been secretly planting pods in the offices of News.com, I think he really means "deep seated." But the bigger point is that he’s got it completely back-asswards.

Every journalist I’ve ever known uses Windows and/or Windows and a Mac. I don’t know anyone who’s never used Windows, even if they are now All Mac All The Time. So if anything, it’s excessive familiarity with Windows that causes all that negative press. The cognitive dissonance between what Microsoft tells the world and what we deal with every day eventually bubbles up into any story, regardless how balanced we try to make it. (Not that I’m busting ligaments trying to be balanced here — this blog is mostly rumor and humor, not news and reviews.)

On the other hand, Reisinger is right about Apple fanboys acting like teenage girls at a Jonas Brothers concert, tossing their undergarments on stage whenever Steve Jobs appears. But it’s not like Microsoft ever does anything worth getting excited about. Apple changes every market it enters or it creates new ones. Microsoft enters existing markets and tries to dominate them — though it seems to be less and less successful at it. Jobs’ "one more thing" is simply more compelling than Ballmer’s bluster.

Reisinger also notes:

Was Windows Vista an ideal operating system? Not a chance. But without the constant bashing on the part of major technology and business journalists, I doubt too many of those issues would have seeped into the public psyche. And if we believe Microsoft’s internal research, most consumers didn’t have the kind of trouble that’s been highlighted so many times on pages across the Web.

As someone who gets a lot of reader mail (not all safe for publication) I can tell you average consumers and super-geeks alike have had plenty of problems with Vista. Not everyone, but enough to be noteworthy. It’s not the journalists, dude, it’s the OS.

Will Windows 7 get a fair shake, regardless of what OS the reviewer uses every day? I think so. And so far, the early reviews are mixed. Computerworld’s Preston Gralla isn’t doing back flips over the new OS, but he gives it a solid thumbs up:

Anyone looking for massive changes or some kind of paradigm shift will be disappointed. But those who want a better-working Vista with the kinks ironed out and some nifty new features introduced will be very pleased.

Infoworld’s Randall C. Kennedy says not so fast, kemosabe. After testing a pre-beta version, Kennedy says

Windows 7 appeared to suck memory like Vista, to consume CPU like Vista, and to have the same consumer focus….the more I dug into Windows 7, the more I saw an OS that looked and felt like a slightly tweaked version of Windows Vista.

Is Gralla in the pocket of Redmond? Is Kennedy harboring a secret crush on Steve Jobs? Hardly. They’re just approaching the same OS with different expectations. Reviewers are human, after all, and so are the people using the products. Your mileage may vary. But ultimately, it’s the quality of the product that drives its success, not the quality of the reviewer.

Are you anxiously anticipating Windows 7, or are you waiting for the next next operating system? Post your thoughts below or email me direct: dan (at) dantynan (dot) com.

This post originally appeared on Infoworld’s Notes From the Field blog.

Image of Steve Jobs with a rainbow halo courtesy of BBC News.

One Response to “Windows 7: It’s not you, it’s us. Really.”

  1. on 12 Nov 2008 at 2:02 pm Bradley A. Coxe

    Clearly the mainstream media is biased toward Macs. Except for Fox News who, as fair and balanced, use Linux and Ubuntu. http://blog.eracc.com/2008/04/28/guess-what-fox-news-is-responsive-to-the-linux-community/