I'm definitely no "pundit". I can't even keep a job, so everything I'm about to say is to be taken with a grain of salt. If anyone besides me is actually reading this, wow. In any case, here's my therapeutic braindumping of thoughts about Windows 7.
- Built-in O/S Virtualization. I'm hoping they build in at least a subset of Hyper-V capabilities to the desktop O/S. The potential benefits could be astounding, but there are still a great many unknown obstacles to overcome before anyone would know if the gains would outweigh the costs or drawbacks at this point.
- Built-in App Virtualization. Given the relative malaise surrounding the uptake of MDOP and SoftGrid in particular, Microsoft will have to remove the shackles of Software Assurance if they want to stay ahead of EMC, Sun, Oracle and Citrix. If you're not familiar with SoftGrid technology (or Thinstall, or whatever) let's just say that would virtually (bad pun) ELIMINATE software deployment packaging headaches, as well as software conflicts entirely. Yes. Entirely. It's cool stuff, and getting far too little press.
- Go back to fewer SKU's. Besides the "core" (kernel) aspects, which would consist of one singular code base, they only need three (3) basic SKU's for Windows: Business, Consumer and Server. That's it. I'm sure they'll split Home Server and maybe Mobile as well, but that's still fewer than are currently supported.
- Relaxed Consumer Licensing. Apple has provided a multi-user license for OSX for years. I believe it allows for 5 concurrent installations in a given home, but I may be mistaken. Microsoft has nothing like that. The closest they have is the Enterprise and Select level "home use" program, which imposes major restrictions and limitations.
- More Free Stuff. Most consumers at least, don't feel it should be necessary to purchase additional software to patch up what is considered to be a failing in the base product. AntiVirus and AntiMalware in particular.
- More Steady Updates. We shouldn't have to wait years for updates. Go back to making the Download Center an exciting place to find neat things. At this point, there's almost as many "case study" whitepapers posted there as actual software. Its' boring. Let the Windows Live team folks loose on it.