The last few years have seen Microsoft lose some of its glitter as its Vista operating system didn’t impress many users. Microsoft though are keen to bounce back and re-affirm their status as the dominant player in the operating system market with Windows 7. Here, we examine Microsoft's latest OS after its Middle East launch.

Tags: Microsoft CorporationUnited Arab Emirates
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By  Gareth Van Zyl , Jason Saundalkar Published  November 3, 2009

Windows Vista, for many, was a disaster. With its Vista OS not being well received, it gave traction to other players in the market to take hold of the OS sphere. The likes of Apple and Linux operating systems such as Debian and Ubuntu began to assume greater prominence while the anti-Windows vitriol grew ever stronger.

It was with much anticipation then that Windows 7 was launched on 22 October 2009. Globally, Microsoft tried to create much hype around it by having actual ‘launch parties' and with the company's advertising campaign that emphasized how users have shaped the development of the operating system. One of the popular ‘catch-phrases' in this advertising campaign has been "I'm a PC and Windows 7 was my idea".

Here in the Middle East, the launch of Windows 7 was preceded by GITEX Technology Week 2009. The OS was being shown off at the Shopper and Trade events in Dubai. So, when the launch date rolled over, much of the Middle East could copies of the OS in retail outlets such as Carrefour.

In terms of the versions available in Middle East; Wilson Xavier, Business Group Manager, Microsoft Gulf, says, "we have Windows 7 starter for netbooks, we have Windows 7 home premium for typical home user, Windows 7 professional for a smart home user. Then it branches out into two: Windows 7 Ultimate for IT enthusiasts, and high-end consumer, and Windows 7 enterprise for large enterprises".

The software leader has also released Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 in its new range of products. Microsoft Exchange 2010 is the latest version of the software company's premier enterprise messaging and collaboration solution, featuring new deployment and storage options, enhanced inbox management capabilities and e-mail archiving built in. Furthermore, the launch in the Middle East will also have a road show whereby in the second or third week of November where Microsoft will have a "World tour launch experience across gulf" roadshow in the second and third week of November 2009 in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. The road show will target an IT decision making audience, such as IT management, IT Pros and IT partners.

Steven Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President of the OEM Division at Microsoft, told GITEX Times: "This is another milestone for the company. Our customers asked to make the system simpler and easier to use. Over eight million people tested the system."

The flavors

Like its Vista operating system, Microsoft intends to release the forthcoming Windows 7 as a number of different versions. The firm has not yet commented on pricing however.

Due to the economic crisis, the emphasis on the products was placed on money-saving measures for companies implementing the system, according to Rich Reynolds, General Manager, Windows Commercial. "From the testing we carried out, customers were enjoying reduced costs as a result of using Windows 7," he says.

There's no doubt that Windows 7 is a much-improved and here is the low-down on how some of the features of the operating system look like.

The wants

To date Microsoft has released its recommended hardware requirements for only the beta release of Windows 7. These include a 1GHz 32- or 64-bit processor, one gigabyte of RAM, a DirectX 9 compatible video card with 128Mbytes of memory, 16Gbytes of hard disk space, a DVD-ROM and a standard audio card. These requirements are almost identical to the specifications Microsoft recommends for the premium editions of Vista.

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