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Microsoft: Everything's Fine With Vista -- Really

Government agencies have put the kibosh on it, and even Steve Ballmer tried to get investors to calm down about it. Just today, a product manager from one of Microsoft's bigger ISV security partners (OK, it was Symantec) told us that most companies won't even seriously start looking at switching to it until the third or fourth quarter of this year (and that actually sounded a little optimistic compared with other projections we've heard).

But Microsoft wants you to know that everything is fine, just fine, with Vista. It's great, actually. In fact, it's selling at double the pace at which XP sold when it first came out! Of course, the PC market is a lot bigger than it was when XP came out, and all of those free Vista upgrades that folks got when they bought XP over the holidays last year figure into Microsoft's numbers. Still, why dwell on such tiny details? Hooray for Vista!

OK, enough of the snarky comments. The fact is that most of us will run Vista eventually.

It's debatable whether Vista will be the last great operating system from Microsoft before everything moves to some sort of Google-ish Web-based service (or to Microsoft's combined software-service model). However, the strong likelihood remains that Vista will be the default OS for many, probably most, of the world's computer users by the time the next version of Windows comes out. Mac OS is as great as ever (although maybe not as great as advertised -- see the next entry), but it's not a serious threat to Windows' market share, especially in the enterprise. And Linux, while gaining momentum, is still a splintered OS that won't benefit from the continued lack of organization (and now, thanks to the Microsoft-Novell deal, infighting) inside the open source community. So, Vista it is -- or will be.

For now, though, Vista has to be a disappointment. Given how long it took to release and how much of a financial boost Microsoft needs from it right now, Vista just isn't building the momentum or gaining the kind of market traction that Redmond would like to see. Maybe the main problem with Vista is that XP is actually too good -- or at least too mature and familiar. Those stringent Vista hardware requirements don't help, either. And despite the half-a-billion dollars Microsoft is spending to promote Vista, the new OS hasn't exactly captured the public's imagination.

A Gateway official in the Cnet story linked above talks about how he's seen a "pretty good reaction" to the release of Vista. That seems to be a common response to the new OS. In terms of functionality, sales and interest from consumers and companies, it's -- you know -- pretty good. Not great, not bad, just OK. You can almost hear shoulders shrugging with apathy as people make these statements. Vista isn't a disaster, but it's not exactly generating the "wow" Microsoft hoped to see.

Have you upgraded to Vista? What's your attitude toward the new OS now that it's been out for a little while? Tell me at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 03/27/2007 at 1:20 PM


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