I've refrained from posting anything about Windows 7 until now but it seems that this week the lid was lifted - albeit only a fraction - on what you might be in store for with the next version of Windows. Steve S gave an interview where he danced around release dates and features and functionality (did you expect anything else) and then D6 released some footage of the multitouch experience not dissimilar to the Surface experience. I particularly like the Virtual Earth demo and recognise the handiwork (Alex are you reading this - was this you?).
Steve S mentioned that high on the list of Windows 7 priorities is Application and Device compatibility; a lot of the heavy lifting was done with Vista on the grounds of security - which has paid off massively - and that clears the tracks for the graceful landing of Windows 7 into the ecosystem. The proactive software houses that I am talking to are realising that developing on Vista and taking advantage of some of the features is a good bet due to what they've heard about platform similarities between Vista and Windows 7 too.
The costs of deploying a new operating system will be lower and more predicable over the long term for customers that have rolled out Windows Vista and then Windows 7 as opposed to going from XP to Windows 7. Furthermore, with the future of what features Windows 7 will ship with and when it will appear being murky - I'd rather be betting my business on something that is current. Especially considering that the types of business that are in this position are the "wait for SP1 crowd", which means that they'll be waiting until 2011 or 2012 to do their next OS upgrade. Someone remind me when XP support runs out again?
Of course, it's always good to see the Bill and Steve double act and I had to laugh when Tim O'Reilly was dismissed by Gates for accusing Microsoft to be focusing only on competing with Google and not having it's own goals. I think the problem is that Tim is the one who is so caught up in the whole Web 2.0 thing he miss a few other technologies here and there. Oh well, his loss.