Microsoft is gearing up for Windows 7’s launch at its annual partner conclave, Monday announcing upcoming markdowns for volume customers and emphasizing the revenue potential of the new system for resellers.
However, although company executives spent time promoting Windows 7 during the first day of Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Worldwide Partner Conference 2009 in New Orleans, they did not, as some had expected, announce that they have sent the system out to manufacturers.
Instead, Bill Veghte, senior vice president for the Windows business, told the audience that Windows 7 will be “released to manufacturing” (RTM) by the end of the month as promised in June. Windows 7 is scheduled to launch on Oct. 22.
Meanwhile, Veghte continued the drumbeat of promoting what may be Microsoft’s most important release of Windows since Windows 95 — 24 years ago. High on his list of talking points to partners were volume licensing programs coming Sept. 1.
“We will have a limited time promotion that provides a 15 to 35 percent discount for customers,” Veghte said, adding that provides big financial benefits to partners.
“[Partners have] $18 of opportunity for every dollar that goes to Microsoft,” he said.
Part of the reason for this is that, unlike past Windows releases, much of the current PC hardware in use by businesses is already fully capable of running Windows 7. That means the potential for upgrades to play a significant role is likely to be a big one.
“Windows 7 runs very well on existing hardware,” Veghte said. Citing a new IDC report, he added that the run rate of new PCs for business use will be in the neighborhood of 177 million to 180 million, but with the addition of existing PCs that are capable of running Windows 7 that dramatically changes the situation.
“You’ve got a very large opportunity of around 246 million PCs around the world on the business side alone,” he added.
By encouraging partners to promote Windows 7 to their customers, Microsoft also is hoping to finally break the logjam of companies that have been holding off on plans for new systems while they wait to see if Vista’s replacement lives up to its hype.
According to report released Monday by ScriptLogic, nearly 60 percent of IT shops still have no plans for deploying Windows, although almost 40 percent plan to deploy it by the end of 2010.