Over 2 Years of Feedback for Windows 7, and Counting

Even though Microsoft has only recently started talking Windows 7, in preparation for events such as the professional Developer Conference 2008, WinHEC 2008 and TechEd EMEA 2008, the fact of the matter is that Windows Vista's successor has been in development since 2007. In fact, for the past couple of years, namely as early as the end of 2006, the Redmond giant has been collecting feedback on Windows 7. And this process is by no means at an end, as it is bound to continue even following the market availability of the next iteration of the Windows client.

"Over the last two years we’ve had a team of dozens of professional researchers fielding surveys, listening to focus groups, and analyzing telemetry and product usage data leading up to the vision and during the development of Windows 7 – and we’re not done yet. From our independently run marketing research to reading your feedback on this blog we will continue to refine our product and the way we talk about it to customers and partners alike. That doesn’t mean that every wish goes answered! One of the hardest jobs of planning is in turning all of this data into actionable plans for development," revealed Mike Angiulo, Windows PC Ecosystem and Planning lead.

In addition to events and conferences such as TechEd, WinHEC, PDC and input gathered through surveys, the largest harvester of feedback is integrated within the Windows architecture, telemetry systems that send millions and millions of records to Microsoft, of course only with end users’ consent, and without any identifiable data.

According to Microsoft, the marrying of the feedback with the development process of Windows 7 is focused on three key areas. The company needs to ensure an equilibrium between the novelty aspect of the new Windows platform and the operating system's capacity to deliver satisfaction throughout its lifecycle. Another balance has to be achieved when it comes to handling aggregate and individual user input, in order to tailor the resulting product for the general case scenario designed to satisfy all consumers. At the same time, Microsoft needs to deliver the right operating system at the right time, and an example of what not to do in this matter is of course Windows Vista.

"We have input on key tradeoffs. We have a position on future trends. That’s usually enough to get started on the next version of the product and we stay connected with customers and partners during throughout development to keep our planning consistent with our initial direction but isn’t enough to know we’re ready to ship. Really being done has always required some post engineering feedback phase whether it’s a Community Technical Preview, Technology Adoption Program or a traditional public Beta," Angiulo stated.
By Marius Oiaga

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