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Windows 8 Will Play Very Nicely With Windows 7

Kicking off Microsoft's annual Worldwide Partner Conference, CEO Steve Ballmer today thanked partners for helping make Windows 7 the fastest-selling operating system in history, now with more than 400 million Windows 7 licenses sold in less than two years.

Echoing that point, Tami Reller, corporate vice president and chief financial officer of Windows and Windows Live, emphasized that Windows 7 is the path to Windows 8. Noting that there are still more than 200 million PCs running Windows XP, which was launched in 2001, Reller told partners they have a real opportunity to deliver more value to customers in the short term and "set them up for the future."

In providing an overview of the road ahead with Windows, Reller told partners that despite the record growth and success of Windows 7, there is tremendous Windows 7 deployment opportunity now and well into the future. "We see a future with a heterogeneous enterprise environment of Windows 8 devices and apps alongside Windows 7 PCs and apps," she said.

"At the heart of our ability to deliver Windows 8 is the flexibility Windows has consistently shown; its ability to adapt over time is what ensures Windows will continue to be highly relevant in the future," Reller added.

Given that current expectations are for Windows 8 to arrive sometime in 2012, it's in everyone's best interest that Microsoft is making Windows 8 as compatible as possible with any business migrations to Windows 7.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.