Windows 7 is the newest Operating System (OS) from Microsoft. It is currently in the beta stage of production, but will soon be in the release candidate stage. While the new OS isn’t expected until late 2009, early 2010 Microsoft is going to need to do a number of things in order to make this OS a success.

Microsoft screwed up the launch of Vista so bad that even still, most computer users have a negative perception of Vista even if they have never used it. Microsoft needs to give Windows 7 away for free or it could face a large decline in the number of users who use Microsoft products.

Here are 5 reasons why I feel that Microsoft should give Windows 7 away for free:

1. Windows Vista was a mess

Microsoft really messed up with the launch of Vista. The prices were too high, there were too many versions, Device Drivers weren’t there (technically not their fault), and hardware support for the OS was abysmal. Because of this people didn’t like Vista and in turn, didn’t switch over to Vista. If Windows 7 were free more people would switch, even if they’re just trying it out.

2. Linux has become much more user friendly

With Ubuntu and Fedora (and many other distributions) becoming increasingly user friendly, the Windows operating system has a lot more competition than the days of 95, 98 and XP. If Windows wants to compete against free operating systems, they need to offer something to the end users.

3. Perception of Microsoft is extremely low

People dislike Microsoft. They have for a really long time, but with the disgrace of Vista I think this dislike has hit a new all-time low. People are fed up with paying high prices for software and are looking for change.

4. The current economy

With the way the current economy is going, people just can’t afford to switch to a new operating system. People are more likely to stick with XP than they are to dish out $100+ to spend on something new. If Microsoft wants Windows 7 to be adopted quickly, they are going to need to give it away.

5. Microsoft Can Afford It

Microsoft has been leading the OS market for many, many years now and can afford to give Windows 7 away. While they would notice the loss in income, they do have other sources and would still remain profitable in the end.

There are a number of things Microsoft should do to make sure it’s adopted well by users. They should only offer 2 or 3 versions (Regular, Business, Ultimate) and the price should be $0. Microsoft could still make money by selling Windows7 to companies like HP and Dell to put on their computers, it would just be free for consumers like us. But this is just me talking, what are your thoughts? Should Microsoft give Windows 7 away for free? Will you switch to it?