It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since the release of Windows 7, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence Apple announced their new operating system OSX Lion around the time of the Birthday party. Being in the IT industry these two events really got me thinking about the adoption rate, or lack thereof, of new operating systems after their public release (not counting the Beta period of course).

415yc65mz3l_sl500_aa300_Windows 7 has been roaming the landscape now for a full year, and after having the opportunity to work with it a bit, it’s leaps and bounds more stable and user friendly than Vista. Why then has there been such slow adoption? Now, when I say slow adoption there seems to be two separate adoption rates for Windows: consumer and corporate. Consumers tend to be early adopters on the Windows front while corporate America is a bit more cautious in adopting new products from Microsoft. That being said, I see consumer machines that have shipped with Windows 7 much more than I see individuals who have upgraded from XP or Vista to Seven.

I would be curious to know what percentage of Windows 7 upgrades are legitimate versus the pirated copies. Individual consumers are more apt to dabble in the torrent community than big business. A major reason the corporate adoption of Windows 7 is slow, is the exorbitant licensing fees charged by Microsoft, not only for corporate America, but for individuals as well. It seems people play the “wait and see” game in relation Windows with an attitude of, “I will wait and male sure it works”, which I deem the “Vista Effect”.

On the Apple front it seems as though users can’t wait to get their hands on the new OS, with the biggest complaint being the long wait between announcement and release. To be fair OSX is used mostly in the entertainment industry when we are talking about business applications, but I think the fundamental difference is that Apple updates their OS incrementally. There are not huge differences going from 10.6 to 10.7 thus fewer things to go awry and few updates Apple needs to push to fix issues.

The other factor that leads to quicker adoption, is that the cost to upgrade in the Apple environment is far less than that of Windows. When you consider the cost to upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard is $29 for a single user and $49 for a family pack, it’s very easy on the wallet, whereas to upgrade to Windows 7 will cost you anywhere from $80 to $150. Granted going from XP or Vista to 7 is a bigger difference than going form Leopard to Snow Leopard, the fact remains it’s easier to part with $30 than $150.

I like the functionality and stability of Windows 7, which says a lot considering I skipped Vista and made the jump from XP. I run seven as a dual boot on my Mac and I like how Microsoft has implemented the ease of use found in OSX. Still there seems to be a slower adoption rate with Windows than with Mac.

After a year it has become evident that Windows 7 is a huge improvement over Vista, consumers and corporate America alike will begin to gain more confidence in it’s stability. Look for the second year of Windows 7 to have more growth than the first year. Happy Birthday Windows 7!! I still prefer OSX, but I respect and welcome your improvements.

So have you upgraded to Windows 7 or are you still running XP or Vista? If you have not taken the leap into Windows 7, why the hesitation?