XP: The OS That Wouldn't Go Away
There's more bad news for Microsoft regarding Vista, if you can believe that.
This week, a company called Devil Mountain Software that tracks such things
said that 35 percent of PCs end
up with "downgrades"
from Vista to XP.
Downgrade, of course, is a relative term in this case. But for Microsoft -- and,
to a lesser extent, its partners -- the failure of Vista to catch on with
users represents a break in a rock-solid business model that has helped Redmond
rocket to the top of the software world in recent decades.
Oh, sure, in the short term, the XP downgrades aren't such a bad thing. Users,
after all, generally pay for a Vista license and then pay for XP downgrade rights.
So Microsoft sells Vista no matter what and then gets a little kick from the
XP downgrade. Great, right? For Microsoft, maybe -- for now.
But in the long term, we might look back on Vista as a turning point in Microsoft's
history. After all, this is the first time we can remember that users have rejected
in such large numbers a major -- "major" being a key word here, as
Windows ME and Windows Bob weren't really in that category -- Windows update.
Maybe that doesn't matter in the long run. After all, users can't go on squeezing
the last drops out of XP forever; they'll have to upgrade at some point, even
if it's to Windows 7. And although Mac and Linux offerings might be picking
up some momentum as a result of Vista's failures, those competitors still can't
do much to seriously challenge Microsoft's market share, especially in the enterprise.
No, the real questions here concern how much damage Vista is doing to users'
(and partners') confidence in Microsoft. And they're not just about whether
folks will migrate to a different OS. Will Vista's problems lead users to look
more closely at cloud computing -- a category Microsoft is desperately trying
to get into -- which de-emphasizes the OS? Will Microsoft's insistence on
forcing Vista on customers (and partners, for that matter) prompt enterprise
users to think twice before they make investments in other Microsoft technologies...such
as servers, where Linux actually has a bit of a foothold?
Microsoft's model for Vista (read: force users into upgrading by killing the
previous OS) isn't new, and it has always worked in the past. But it's not working
now. XP won't go away, and that makes the future for Windows in particular and
Microsoft in general look a lot cloudier than it has in the past.
We're planning on running your Vista e-mails in tomorrow's RCPU...so contribute
now to email@example.com.
Posted by Lee Pender on 08/20/2008 at 1:22 PM