Windows 7 may be fab but it’s pure marketing bamboozle

Comment Ever buy a soap powder because it had extra “blue crystals”?  Many people did in the 1950s because how can you resist a product with the “blue crystals” factor?

The toothpaste companies cottoned onto the act in the 1960s with the sparkling “ring of confidence” and Intel had a bash at it in the 1990s by applying Intel Inside to a component and attempting to fool us all into thinking that a CPU was the “brain of a computer”.

When IBM used to upgrade mainframe memory a besuited man would come into the site and do some frantic fiddling about. Actually, he wasn’t adding memory to the machine, he was just turning a switch to enable the stuff already installed.

And so to Microsoft. Three versions of Windows 7 – Home Premium, Professional and “Ultimate”.  Ultimate sounds so cool, doesn’t it? Ultimate is the version that works, the other two could justly be described as crippleware. Microsoft is shipping three SKUs (stock keeping units) and Home Premium and Professional just have bits switched off.

This would be like, for example, Intel shipping chips that have everything there but some of it’s disabled. Would Intel ever do such a dastardly thing? Sure they would.

And that’s what Microsoft is doing. Have a dekko at this page and you’ll see the disabled bits.

And how can Microsoft get away with this? Because there’s one born every minute. Naturally, you want the best and you’ll pay the most for quality. But Windows Ultimate is Windows Ordinaire, while Professional and Home Premium are like second class and third class travel.

Virgin Airlines has three classes in its transatlantic planes too – called Upper Class, Premium Economy and Economy. We’ve heard a few times that Richard Branson wanted to call them Upper Class, Middle Class and Working Class but was persuaded out of this cunning plan.

There’s a little bit of snobbery in all of us. Say you’re talking to a buddy and he says: “I’m running Windows 7 Home Premium.”  If you’re running Windows 7 Ultimate, wouldn’t you just want to rub his nose in it a bit?

Marketing apparently rules the world. Just say no to blue crystals – and bully Microsoft into making the working version of Windows 7 the only one you can get.