Microsoft's goal with Windows 7 is to lift Vista's derailed train and put it back on the tracks. Windows 7 itself is internally called Windows 6.1, essentially Vista Service Pack 2 (Microsoft is also preparing a scaled down Vista SP2 for delivery shortly before Windows 7 is released). Microsoft's executives have made no secret of the fact that Windows 7 is an incremental improvement to Windows Vista, with CEO Steve Ballmer calling it "Windows Vista, a lot better," and saying, "Windows 7 is Windows Vista with cleanup in user interface [and] improvements in performance."
Mike Nash, Microsoft's vice president of Windows product management, called Windows 7 "evolutionary" but also a "significant" improvement upon Vista. The company has oscillated between describing it as either a major or minor release, depending on who the intended audience was. In October, Computerworld wrote that at the release of Vista, the company's roadmap suggested a series of alternating releases between major new operating system developments (like Vista) every four years, and minor updates in between.