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Mailbag: Microsoft In the Money...Not

Last week, Doug wrote about the rough quarter Microsoft just had -- profits are down and layoffs are up. Did Vista have anything to do with it? Is Windows 7 going to give Microsoft the boost it needs? Here are some of your thoughts:

In your item about what went wrong with Microsoft's earnings, you said regarding Vista: "Then there is the Vista problem. Many who would like a faster machine believe that Vista is slower than XP, no matter how many gigs of RAM you throw at it." This is a perception that is thrown out by the media and writers of technical publications that are either under pressure to do so, or are purely misinformed and have not run comparisons themselves. It is no longer true that XP outperforms Vista. The only advantage XP has is on boot-up on laptops, where Vista lags by about 20 to 30 seconds. Once booted up, Vista outperforms XP. With desktops with dual-core processors and above, Vista performs or even outperforms XP at boot-up.

Microsoft failed on two levels, in my opinion, regarding Vista: It released it at a time when hardware and software vendors still had not created stable drivers and software updates, and secondly Microsoft has a horrible marketing department. Maybe it should have been laid off a long time ago.

The interesting part of this article is that it seems to show that Microsoft simply does not have any understanding of its customers. I run a startup global sourcing business, and I spend a rather significant part of my day playing games with one operational problem after another with Vista. As if that is not bad enough, Microsoft provides virtually no customer service; other than a publication like Redmond Report, there is no one to talk to. Because of this, I can only assume that no one in Microsoft is listening.

Personally, I think that Microsoft is on the slippery slope of ultimate failure. I am a small fellow in the world, but I have three computers in the business and three at home that will eventually migrate to Apple or Linux. Microsoft is, in my humble opinion, the soon-to-be Chrysler of the software industry, looking for a handout to keep the doors open just a little longer. Will Microsoft's vast cash reserves last it through the need to convince the public that there is good reason to invest in Windows 7 -- or even to download Vista SP2?

I think you are right about Microsoft for 2009; it will be glad to see the back of 2008. It will really reap the benefits through 2010, though, when Windows 7 -- I know the marketing wonks won't like it, but couldn't they keep that as the name? -- and Server 2008 R2 are established. Certainly, both products will be on top of my list late this year. We have skipped Vista entirely and I'll be working hard to ensure that we adopt Windows 7 relatively early especially as application compatibility appears pretty good in the beta so far. I think you can keep the rose-tinted glasses on.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to

Posted by Doug Barney on 01/30/2009 at 1:16 PM


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