Calling Windows Vista, Are You There?

It’s amazing how silent the blogs are when it comes to the whole Microsoft Vista experience. It’s really amazing how little you hear in tech circles about Vista. I mean it’s supposed to be a significant improvment to Windows XP right? It cost billions of dollars and many many years to build.

Not only should Microsoft be proud but people should be giddy with excitement. Right? Right?

Maybe 90% of bloggers use a mac. Maybe it was the extended beta period and long-delayed release that drew out the excitement. Maybe it’s my brain filter that doesn’t want to aknowledge all the blue screens of death and document files that dissappeared into black oblivion without so much as waving goodbye and taking the rest of my computer with it in a flaming death. Maybe it’s the traumatic memories of re-installing Windows to a mind-numbing routine many many times.

The fact is that Steve Jobs can steal the thunder of a Windows Vista release with a freaking phone that doesn’t even have real keypads or even in stores. A good number of months back there was speculation that Apple would release their next generation operating system OS X 10.5 aka Leopard a little early just so they could compete with Windows Vista. Well, they’re on schedule for mid-year as if to take their leisurely time although some rumor sites (all Apple news in the future tense are rumors) say a March release is possible.

Even the whole IE7 thing kinda came and went without really leaving an impact. Of course, after so many years they never did get web standards right, just introduced a new set of wrongs.

Still, this lack of coverage or excitement for one of the biggest tech companies is not normal. What gives? Is it the classic case of too little too late?

Much Ado About Nothing

One of the things that shocked me switching to a mac was the lack of “Pro” branded software. I thought to myself, “Surely, there must be an upgrade to OS X Pro Edition hiding somewhere, ready to spring at me when the opportunity strikes.” but to my shock, in a good way, there was none. I had the only edition available. Of course, there is OS X Server but that’s really for servers and it actually makes sense. Ultimate, Pro, Home, Amateur, Grandma, etc. really don’t mean anything other than, “we just forked the project to make it cripple ware so that we could squeeze out more cash from the idiots kind enough to pay”. Of course, that’s not to say Apple is a saint. They still try to charge you $30 just to watch a movie in full screen mode with their dubious “QuickTime Pro” edition.

If Microsoft was focused on the customer experience they would try to present them with a nice, simple option that does most of what they do and not what the engineers want to throw into a product.

As someone who’s been using Windows products since the early 90s, I’ve always yearned for a “computer that works like a TV or a car”. Just think about it, if your car suddenly stopped in the middle of the highway or even more shockingly fell apart while driving it, you’d get seriously injured or killed. The same thing used to happen to me with Windows on a daily basis. I’ve lost so many documents that way. Then it got me so brain-washed to nervously hit the save button every few minutes that what I gained by not losing works in progress was lost in productive flow. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that a Mac was just that, simple and reliable.

Businesses Will Probably Wait

With all the custom tools and software that businesses have already invested in using Windows XP, they’ll probably wait a little while before they upgrade and take down their whole company in a flaming ball of death. I know if I was in the IT department I’d resist it with every last fiber of my body and tell my boss how we’ll need to chuck all existing computers to make the migration. It’s the smart thing to do.

Windows XP Isn’t All that Bad

Before I parted with Windows XP, I had it stable and running smoothly. It was good enough for me and I learned not to touch it or install stuff I didn’t need. In that state I was thinking, “why would I ever need more?” It seemed good enough to me. After having gone through upgrade hell and re-installation hell so many times you become real conservative, even for a tinkerer like me.

A Convincing Case

In order to sell Windows Vista you need to convince consumers:

  1. Stuff wont break or will be less breakable after this

  2. There’s a lot of real value to be gained by upgrading

  3. It’s what everyone will be doing in the future

Even if you convinced consumers of Windows Vista’s value, you’d then have to convince them to buy a real expensive computer that would work with Vista, not to mention guide them through the confusing array of products depending on their “needs”. It’s a really hard sell if you ask me. If I buy a computer and it comes with Vista then I have no choice but otherwise I might even buy a new computer and put an old copy of Windows on it.