Steve Ballmer's announcement that Microsoft will soon release a public beta of Windows 7 has generated mixed reactions among users. While some expressed interest in Windows 7, others were sceptical that Microsoft can turn around its operating system business and make a strong product.

On an Ars Technica forum page, a user identifying himself as VibeDog questioned Ballmer's claims of improved performance in Windows 7: "Has Microsoft learned nothing from the Vista launch?...Release an improved OS and the performance will speak for itself. The self-marketing that preceded Vista sunk it before it was ever put out to sea."

Windows 7 screen

"Resonator80," writing at the bottom of an InformationWeek article, echoed this concern. "My complaint with Windows (XP in my case) is the number of crashes, slowdowns and other flaws," the comment said. "Are these eliminated by W7? If not, what is the point?"

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On Computerworld, a user who claimed to be a long-time PC tech support worker said Microsoft's problem wasn't Vista, but rather interface updates to Office. "People who thought they knew Word suddenly couldn't find the print button," the user said. "Vista is a good operating system, better than XP, but my clients wouldn't migrate because of what they had heard."

Another Computerworld reader questioned whether many people would actually try the Windows 7 public beta. "First MS releases W7 to P2Ps ...that didn't spark any interest," the anonymous reader wrote. "Now it's released to the public...who cares?"

Someone else shot back, "a lot of people care...You watch as the 2.5 million downloads are consumed like there's no tomorrow."

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