Windows 7 is already feeling the love from both graphics camps. Earlier this month, Nvidia released a specialized Forceware driver for the beta OS along with the promise of regular updates, and now AMD has followed suit with its new ATI Catalyst 9.3 driver this week. However, the new Catalyst driver rolls both Windows 7 and Vista support into a single download, allowing the company to lay claim as offering the "first unified driver installation package to incorporate Windows 7 support." AMD says future Catalyst releases will also be unified for both the current and upcoming Windows OSes.
"AMD's expertise in visual computing shines through in the combined experience of Windows 7 and ATI Radeon graphics," said Anantha Kancherla, group manager responsible for Windows graphics, Microsoft. "With today's release of a Windows 7 unified driver, AMD once again demonstrates its ability to deliver perfromance and cutting-edge driver support."
Hit the jump to find out what else to expect from the new Catalyst 9.3 unified driver.
Call it peer pressure, or call it a dose of common sense, but Microsoft is finally looking to take on the free rivals of its Office application suite. During a presentation at the Morgan Stanley Technology conference, Microsoft Business Division Chief Stephen Elop announced a free / ad supported version which they hope will help combat piracy. According to Elop, “There's an opportunity to draw those pirate customers into the revenue stream. We want to draw them into the Windows family and maybe there's an upsell opportunity later”.
Also in related news, Microsoft Business Software VP Chris Capossela, has also tipped off the Silicon Alley Insider as to the operating system requirements of Office 14, and Windows Vista / 7 will still be optional. The Office and Windows teams now work completely independent of each other, and I’m sure the Office guys are simply hoping to avoid the depressing Halo effect that requiring a new operating system can have on sales. With Office 14 delayed until sometime in 2010, will this give businesses even more reasons to stick with XP? If the productivity software these companies rely on still works just as well in a legacy operating systems, do companies have enough incentive to move to Windows 7? Corporate IT professionals are typically big fans of the status quo, and are usually against operating system migrations unless they can prove the value.
So will this slow down business adoption of Windows 7? And if you would be willing to use an ad supported version of Office 14? Let us know what you think.
The official release of Windows 7 might still be several months away, but that isn't stopping Nvidia from preparing for Vista's successor with new graphics drivers aimed at Windows 7 beta users. The new drivers are available now, and Nividia promises this is just the start of a regular driver release schedule. Remember that shortly after Vista debuted, Microsoft blamed buggy Nvidia drivers for giving the OS a bad rap.
"Since its release last month, the Windows 7 Beta has been eagerly tested by hundreds of thousands of NVIDIA GeForce owners, who are excited about the many graphical improvements Microsoft has added into the upcoming operating system," said Ujesh Desai, vice president of GeForce desktop business at NVIDIA.
Nvidia says it has been working closely with Microsoft so that its new drivers will take full advantage of the additional features and functionality Windows 7 brings to the table. Kicking off with v181.71, Nvidia's graphics drivers support the new Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) v1.1. The drivers also support SLI on DX9, 10, and OpenGL applications, PhysX, CUDA, and Direct3D, Direct2D, and DirectWrite.
During his annual “strategic update” with Wall Street analysts, Steve Ballmer made it very clear that Office 14 will not launch in 2009. Normally outside of the business community, few would take notice of this. But with the high profile beta of Windows 7 igniting a passion in both raging Microsoft fans and Mac / Linux converts alike, a delay on the Office side should have everyone concerned. The reason for this is simple; Office releases usually follow operating system launches extremely closely. Windows XP & Office XP both shipped together in 2002, and Windows Vista & Office 12 shipped together in January 2007 as well. Even though some versions of Office have released in-between operating systems, if we simply rely on history as a guide we won’t be seeing Windows 7 until 2010.
Microsoft released an alpha version of its new office suite back in January, and rumors were swirling that Office 14 would indeed come in 2009, rumors Steve Ballmer has now put to rest. With an open beta not planned until sometime in the summer, it seems likely that the RC (release candidate) version would push well into the fourth quarter and see an early 2010 release.
Now that we know Windows 7 development is far ahead of Office, will Microsoft delay the launch in order to have a concurrent release? Or will it break with tradition in order to capitalize on the good will that has been building since the release of the beta. Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
Microsoft made the Windows 7 Beta public, and many of you heeded the call of duty. With your bug testing hat on and feedback hands ready to type, you’ve made it possible for Microsoft to announce a whopping 36 updates to the release candidate.
“We’ve been quite busy for the past two months or so working through all the feedback we’ve received on Windows 7. It should be no surprise but the Release Candidate for Windows 7 will have quite a few changes, many under the hood so to speak but also many visible,” wrote Steven Sinofsky on Microsoft’s Engineering Windows 7 blog.
Among the laundry list of changes are edits so the desktop experience, networking upgrades, changes to the control panel, windows media player updates and performance upgrades. If you’re looking to check out the whole list of changes, be sure to check out the blog here.
Will Windows 7 bring glad tidings for gamers? Chris Lewis, VP of Interactive Entertainment Business for Microsoft EMEA, certainly believes the new OS will keep gamers happy.
"It's all good news - it's even more robust, it's quicker relatively, and the early testing cycles are proving very promising overall,” an excited Lewis told Gameindustry.biz in an interview. He said the company will divulge more details later this year.
Lewis didn’t forget to reassure gamers that Microsoft remains committed to PC gaming. “Ultimately we're a Windows and PC company at heart,” Lewis accentuated Microsoft’s commitment to its roots.
Attention Windows 7 beta users, up to five (5), I said f-i-v-e test updates are coming via Windows Update tomorrow (February 24). These updates are strictly for testing purposes, our friends in Redmond tell us. By the way, you must install these updates manually via Windows Update - even if you run WU in Automatic mode. BTW Mark 2: these updates replace some system files with the same version that's already on your system.
So, what's the point of running WU and selecting these updates? Mama Microsoft want to make sure it can update Windows 7 properly. Don't want to play? See the Microsoft Update Team Blog to learn more.
Microsoft Windows’ hegemony in the netbook market is currently unimpeachable. Contrary to conjectures and forecasts, Linux has failed to take control of the netbook market, a segment tailor-made for it. But can an entirely new Linux distro reverse the trend?
Computerworldreports that HP will offer not only Windows 7 Professional and Home Premium SKUs on its netbooks, but also the stripped-down (three apps open at a time) Windows 7 Starter edition. Making Starter available in all markets is a departure for Microsoft, which has offered Windows XP and Windows Vista Starter editions only in developing countries.
As we reported earlier this month, Windows 7, unlike Windows Vista, is designed to run on everything from netbooks to the most powerful desktop and laptop PCs on the market. Although HP isn't the first company to announce it would be running Windows 7 on netbooks (ASUS beat them to the punch back in October), HP's decision provides more backing for Microsoft's claim that Windows 7 covers all the modern PC bases. So, how about you? What's the lowest-performance platform you've used for installing Windows 7 Beta? Were you satisfied with the performance, or not? Join us after the jump for your chance to share your Windows 7 Beta on netbook or low-end PC platforms war stories.