Over the long weekend news started filtering through the tubes about a new PC promotion from HP where they clearly state that Windows 7 PCs are now "back by popular demand." If you customize a new PC from HP that has Windows 7 preinstalled, you can see up to $150 savings.
The reporting on the promotion seemed to take issue with it, but I'm not sure they should.
On one hand, Windows 8.1 is Microsoft's current flagship operating system version. HP has been very clear in month's past that they, like many other PC manufacturers, are not happy with the latest release. Windows 8, and now 8.1, is just too different than previous versions, causing consumers confusion, businesses to forgo adoption, and the industry to suffer in PC sales. Blame Microsoft, right? So, one theory for the new Windows 7 promotion is that HP is publicly sending an addendum to their earlier Windows 8 missive to Microsoft that they believe Windows 8 sucks. And, this may be just another piece of that thread. As part of the ongoing assault on Microsoft's OS direction, HP recently released Chromebooks, which are built on Google's ChromeOS (Android). I've written about the Chromebook recently and given my thoughts. In essence, Chromebooks are modern day snake oil. It's a good solution in very specific situations, but in reality, not a true computing experience. Other manufacturers have followed suit, with Dell releasing their own ChromeOS model only weeks ago.
So, is HP's latest Windows 7 promotion an attempt to slam Windows 8.1? It's easy to construe the Chromebook release as a Windows 8 condemnation, but probably not the Windows 7 campaign. Read on.
On the other hand, I believe HP is doing a smart thing. With the Windows XP support deadline (April 8, 2014) so close, the majority of businesses are migrating to Windows 7, not Windows 8. If you've watched the stats over the past few months, as Windows XP usage goes down its clear that Windows 7 usage goes up. And, many companies have stated that their intent is to replace Windows XP with Windows 7. This makes complete sense. Windows 7 offers a much similar computing experience for those who have used Windows XP for the last decade. A true Start button and Programs menu still exists, and Windows 7 is just a more comfortable environment. A big piece of any OS migration is retraining end-users. Moving to from Windows XP to Windows 7 is like trading in your 2010 Toyota Camry for a 2014 model, and less like going from a Camry to a Corvette. It's easier and less costly to retrain end-users on something similar than to start from scratch and have to reteach everything.
I don't currently, but I've used HP laptops in the past and they were good. Not the best, but for the price and function, they are hard to beat. So, I give HP props for giving customers what they actually want and also making them readily available. For companies that are tasked with replacing hardware at the same time they replace an old operating system, HP's high profile promotion is accommodating.
I also give HP props for trying to spur PC sales. Obviously, the company needs some good news and increased revenue in the PC area, but I believe HP's promotion could give the entire PC industry a boost, by reminding customers that they do have a choice. And, if it helps customers migrate away from Windows XP faster, more power to them. Rock on, HP.