Just before Christmas, Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer Chris Caposella voiced concerns that Windows 7 users would soon be faced with an array of problems unless they update their OS.
Windows 7 is the most-used desktop OS out in the world at the minute, so any security or functionality concerns Microsoft express can have far-reaching consequences that spread from consumer buying habits to industry decisions about whether to update or not.
Needless to say, the worries Caposella raised all mean a lot more coming from him; Microsoft is warning people about its own products. But why would it do this?
Genuine Update or Veiled Threat?
There are two positions here. The optimist would claim that Microsoft are just giving people a heads up that they’re going to be winding down their Windows 7 support in the future, and pointing out that things will get increasingly bad for users who continue to use Windows 7 going forward. They do the same thing with all operating systems eventually, after all.
The cynic, however, would see this as a fairly transparent push to get people onto Windows 10, the newest operating system which launched last year to generally favourable reviews.
Reason to Be Cynical
So which line should we take? Is there any reason to be cynical about Capossela’s comments? In a word, yes.
We’ve reported often on Microsoft’s Windows 10 hijinks. First there was the auto-download scandal, where Microsoft was automatically downloading Windows 10 as an update without asking permission – despite it costing the user up to 6GB of data.
Then, there were the constant pop-ups, some of which clicked through to an awkward worded invitation to upgrade, where both options were yes.
In light of this trickery, it is hard not to see Microsoft’s announcement – coming from the Chief Marketing Officer, no less – as fearmongering. Capossela has essentially paused the music to say the club will closed in 30 minutes.
This is an especially tempting conclusion when one considers the details of the comments. He seemed to be playing to people’s fears when he referenced weaknesses in security, and a host of other problems staying on Windows 7 could cause: including Fallout 4 not being able to run (shock horror) and your new printer not working!
Although Windows 10 is nothing to be avoided, the way Microsoft has handled the whole transition has been one accident after another. Unless they stop soon, they might start to seem a little desperate.