Is Windows 7 the dawn of a new era?

Microsoft's latest offering is here. But will Windows 7 reclaim the clout that operating systems enjoyed in the pre-Windows Vista era? Or will it succumb to the cloud -- the Internet-based system?

At first glance the dawn of Windows 7 seems to have already raised the OS market's temperature from warm to sizzling hot. Apple sales have usually showed an uptick during a new Microsoft release, and it is doing its bit by running ads -- reminding consumers the failures and shortcomings of past Microsoft operating systems.

IBM and Canonical, the maker of the free Linux distribution, Ubuntu, recently announced an OS bundle that they claim is not just an alternative to Windows 7, but also offers the newest buzzword -- clouds.

Unlike the OS, the cloud, somewhere in the Internet, can support applications as well as user data. The best example is, of course, Gmail, offered by Google. It's not the OS that is important, but the Web browser. And Google, which has created Google Chrome, is also working on a browser based OS called Google Chromium.

The OS market today is different from the time when Apple's OS X was hip, Linux was geeky and Windows was everybody. When OSes were known for the applications that they could run, and the devices that they supported.

Also, consider the economy. People are tight with their wallets and yes, even geeks and businesses will think a little before splurging on new applications or upgrading to new systems.

So, while it's exciting times in the OS market with the latest release, there are challenges other than the looming cloud for it to surpass. We are in the cusp of things and it will be fun to see who emerges as the final winner.
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