The following book, Customer Winback : How to Recapture Lost Customers–And Keep Them Loyal, should be required reading in Redmond. The problem with Vista is that Microsoft has gone about systematically ruining its Windows brand. So one would think that Microsoft would be in “customer winback” mode. And the book is quite explicit about the payback to Microsoft for re-courting lost customers:
‘A study by Marketing Metrics has found that firms have a much better chance of winning business from lost customers than from new prospects. The research found that a firm has a 60-70 % probability of successfully selling to “active” customers, a 20-40% probability of successfully selling to “lost” customers, and a 5-20% probability of making a successful sale to [new] prospects.’

Now some readers may want to argue that Redmond has not lost any customers as WindowsXp+Windows Vista still have nearly 90% OS market share. However, it is not a good thing when the new Vista still does not reach over 30% market share two years after its introduction despite the”forced retirement” of Windows XP in June of 2008. So what should Microsoft do to win over customers clinging to Windows XP with its introduction of the new Windows 7 on October 22.

Well Winback is explicit – Redmond has to clean away the the old deterrents and problems right away. Lets grade the Windows 7 RC on its success in dealing with the major issues:

SpeedNot much improvement versus Vista, this is a show-stopper issue as Windows XP, Linux, MacOS all clearly outperform Windows on startup and same app runtimes. Yet even through RC2, Windows 7 barely beats Vista which means it will likely not outperform Windows XP. This leaves organizations, developers and users with a problem they don’t want – Windows 7 performance, even with gobs of memory, that does not meet their needs. Look for greater impetus to Apple, Netbooks, and the Cloud as Redmond fails to deal with its speed/perfromance problems.
Memory bloat – again better than Vista but still not better than Windows XP. This sleeper is fast becoming a show-stopper issue for two reasons. First Google Android and other Netbook machines which run faster with half the memory and just as well become much more competitive because they can run more apps in less space [and faster] than Windows. Since Linux has an ever growing array of great Open Source apps [or they are Web available], organizations and individuals that are Recession Crunched will have to look beyond Redmond. The second reason, Microsoft has still to extsinguish is memory and system resource leaks that require rebooting on longer 2-5 hour sessions. This is a problem that Redmond has promised to lick, maybe the final release of Windows 7 will do the trick.

Cost and Confusion-the cost is $60 (if you get Microsoft half price offer) versus $29 for Snow Leopard (roughly equal upgrades). The confusion on the number of versions persists as Microsoft continues to segment in crazy-quilt fashion.