I see Microsoft has already started to lay down the groundwork for the failure of Windows 7 (Ballmer: Windows 7 is Vista, just ‘a lot better’, InfoWorld). Saying something like that at this point in time should work about as well as if John McCain were to declare that “he is George W. Bush, just a lot better.” People don’t like Vista as there is very little apparent gain from it (as compared to XP), and if Windows 7 is Vista 2.0 it must mean that large number of Vista’s obnoxioius features will still present in Windows 7.
When Windows NT came out its benefits were obvious over Windows 98. Subsequently Windows 2000 took out the rough edges off of NT making the new environment very useable, and lightyears ahead of 98 in stability, features, etc. XP further refined that lineage. Vista, on the other hand, has no such apparent benefits over XP. Even though Microsoft has put significant amount of time into developing the kernel under the hood, to the users it looks more bloated, more resource-hungry, more glitsy, but with few features that leave the user wanting to switch over (DirectX 10 being perhaps one of the only ones.. and if you don’t play games, even it has little significance to you). Obviously Windows 7 continues the lineage, but just as John McCain is desperately trying to point out that he is not George W. Bush, Microsoft would be well advised to play down the likeness of Windows 7 to Vista.
Rather than advertising Windows 7’s already painfully obvious lineage, Microsoft could, for a change, attempt something revolutionary such as making the new version of the Windows actually less resource hungry so that it would run faster on the same hardware as its predecessor. With many UNIX distributions such as FreeBSD that is generally the case; new versions squeeze more torque out of the same hardware than did their predecessors.