What’s been taken out of Windows 7?
Microsoft has announced with great fanfare all the new features that are in Windows 7, but with a little less fanfare it’s also removed some. Although things aren’t quite as straightforward as they may seem.
On the face of it, Windows Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Movie Maker and Photo Gallery will all now exist as applications in their own right, downloadable from the Windows Live Essentials site.
“There are certain types of application that require more frequent [releases],” John Curran, Windows project lead UK, told me in an interview.
As such, he explained, it didn’t make sense for them to be built so tightly into the operating system. This would also allow Microsoft to release updates to those applications at a pace that suited their target audience.
However, the likelihood of anyone buying a new Windows 7 PC without all five applications preinstalled appears almost non-existent.
“They’re free for PC manufacturers to install and we’re encouraging them to do so,” he explained. “Then for other folks [who buy from companies that don’t] they’re available for download for free.”
But there’s more than a hint of regulatory interference behind the move, with Microsoft perhaps just as motivated by a need to show willing to EU and US courts that it isn’t abusing its monopolistic position – to force its own applications onto the public at the expense of potential rivals – as it is by the need to separate out the development process.
Anyone who recalls the farcical release of “N” versions of Windows XP, where system builders were offered the marvellous opportunity to load the OS without Windows Media Player (strangely, hardly anyone did), will now be feeling a remarkable sense of déjà vu.
Interestingly, though, both Windows Media Player and Media Center will remain an important part of Windows 7, with Curran describing them as a vital part of the new OS. In the home versions at least.