Forget the conservative approach. Microsoft is stoking the fire for what many feel will be the first blockbuster Windows release since Windows 95. Speaking at an investor's conference on Tuesday, Microsoft General Manager Charles Songhurst said that Windows 7 would jumpstart the industry and put an end to the bad news that killed Windows Vista in the minds of many.

"Windows 7 is a compellingly good product," he said, "\[that has led to\] renewed belief in innovation in the Windows franchise ... \[and\] when Windows is executing well, Microsoft is in good shape." Vista, by comparison, was a "less good" release, a victim of timing and perception. (I'd add lack of focus to that list, but whatever.)

Songhurst also discussed the success of netbooks and their impact on Microsoft's bottom line. Microsoft makes less per unit sold every time a netbook goes out the door, and the popularity of these small and inexpensive machines has materially affected the software giant's bottom line. Songhurst said that Microsoft earns about $50 per PC on average, but the figure is much smaller for netbooks. (Supposedly, it's as low as $12, although that will shift to about $25 with Windows 7.)

But Songhurst doesn't see netbooks as the net negative that many assume. "From what we see, they are incremental \[sales\]," he said. "They are new scenarios." That is, netbooks are being added to multi-PC households and aren't replacing full-fledged PCs. With the release of Windows 7 looming, Microsoft believes that millions of people will upgrade to new high-end PCs, as well, jumpstarting revenues.

Microsoft will launch Windows 7 on October 22, 2009. On that date, consumers will be able to purchase Windows 7-based PCs from PC makers and buy the software, either in boxed versions at retail or electronically online. Full Windows 7 coverage is available on the SuperSite for Windows.