As OS debauchery goes, Windows 7 truly is the height of gluttony. It's bloated and top-heavy, with an insatiable appetite for state-of-the-art hardware. Basically, it chews up CPU and memory capacity like it's going out of style. But to what end? What is it, exactly, that Windows 7 does so much better than its leaner, meaner, pre-Vista ancestors?
These are the questions that will likely be directed your way as you begin the slow, painful process of squeezing another oversized Windows release onto your already taxed PC hardware. When confronted about this latest "upgrade," deflect the inevitable criticisms by emphasizing how much more manageable all those RAM-hungry services will make your environment.
And if all else fails, play the security card: A slow PC is a small price to pay for peace of mind, whether that peace is real or (in the case of Windows 7) imagined.
Greed: Windows 7 will cost you, over and over again
Microsoft is a greedy company. Its obsession with preserving profit by stamping out software piracy has led to ever more onerous "Windows Genuine Advantage" (that is, copy protection) mechanisms, culminating with the albatross of a solution that plagues Vista and, to a lesser degree, Windows 7. Meanwhile, Microsoft's determination to even out its revenue stream has led to the company denying critical management technologies, like the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) and Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), to customers who refuse to bite the Software Assurance bullet, Microsoft's expensive insurance plan that extracts an annual fee for every PC you have for the privilege of running the current Windows.
Another pickpocket tactic: Tying Windows 7's few, tangible, IT-oriented benefits to the company's server platform. Want to leverage technologies like Branch Cache or Windows Direct Access? Then pony up for some upgrade CALs (client access licenses) because the Windows Server 2008 R2 show is coming to town. Given how badly Microsoft dropped the ball with the nonexistent Vista/Server 2008 integration message, forcing IT shops that swallowed that bitter pill to now shell out for yet another upgrade cycle is simply unforgiveable.
Considering the company's position as a monopoly, such behavior is all the more reprehensible. For good or bad, Microsoft's responsibilities now extend beyond pleasing its shareholders to include providing leadership and direction for the industry as a whole. If the company foists a buggy, unmanageable platform upon what is effectively a captive audience, it is then duty-bound to provide affordable solutions for addressing the glaring deficiencies in that platform.
This is the mantle that a true market leader must assume -- and as a veteran IT professional, you already know full well that Microsoft falls short of this ideal at nearly every opportunity. Your job, then, is to mask this moral weakness by emphasizing the various bogus "value" propositions Microsoft uses to pitch Software Assurance and Windows Server 2008 R2. After all, without SA you're screwed, and without Windows Server 2008 R2, you get little more than a prettied-up Vista. So pony up and shut up. Or go Linux and spend the rest of your life debugging some pimple-faced teenager's idea of a device driver stack. It's your call.