Vista's Second Launch: This Time, It's for Real

Last November, I sent a couple of reporters down to the launch of Vista in New York. After five years of waiting, the launch was as underwhelming Milli Vanilli singing their own songs. Today, Redmond is pulling out all the stops for the consumer launch of Vista, again in the Big Apple. Expect a lot of fanfare, but don't count on learning anything new.

As a lowly journalist, I was wondering about the prices of new Vista PCs, so I went to one of my most trusted research resources: Parade magazine!

There on the back page was the trusty Dell ad. A Vista PC sells for $599 and a laptop is a sweet $699. With these prices, Vista is now the de facto standard for new consumer PCs.

But Vista Didn't Get Here Soon Enough
Microsoft reported record, and what I consider stunning, revenues for its latest quarter -- giving the company a run rate of $50 billion. So you'd think Wall Street would be popping the corks on their Dom Perignon and lighting up Cohibos. Instead, analysts drilled the stock, boo-hooing that profits fell 28 percent to only $2.6 billion. The profit hit was largely blamed on the Vista delay.

Sun Shines Again
Sun Microsystems is a landmark story of guts, spunk and survival. Let's face it: Solaris has taken a beating from Linux and Windows Server, SPARC is now marginalized by Intel and AMD, and the idea of network computers like the Sun Ray is about as welcome as Larry the Cable Guy at a New York City Debutante Ball.

But Sun has not just survived -- it's even prospering, reporting $126 million in profits for the latest quarter.

Vista Critics Desperate for Publicity
It must stink to have a free operating system and a free productivity suite, and realize the press just doesn't give a hoot. Meanwhile, Microsoft sneezes and CNN cameras snap to attention.

In desperate search of press, two self-professed enemies of Vista tried to crash the Redmond bash today in New York, and even claimed in a press release that it will "spoil" the launch.

One group, defectivebydesign.com, hates Digital Rights Management. I'm not in love with DRM, but if I made movies or music, I sure would be.

Another group, badvista.org, loves to take potshots at Vista while it promotes open source. I like open source as much as the next guy, but I'd rather see these folks simply marketing Linux, making it more usable and maneuvering OEMs into preinstalling and supporting the darn thing! Now, that's how you battle Vista.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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