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Friday, September 28, 2007

CNet Calls On Microsoft To Dump Vista

You know that saying that all PR is good PR? Not sure it always works. I don't think this is what the #1 software company wants people reading over coffee:

Never before have I seen such an abysmal start to an operating system release. For almost a year, people have been adopting Vista and becoming incensed by how poorly it operates. Not only does it cost too much, it requires more to run than XP, there is still poor driver support, and that draconian licensing scheme is a by-product of Microsoft picking on the wrong people.

The road ahead looks dangerous for Vista and Microsoft must realize that. With Mac OS X hot on its tail, Vista is simply not capable of competing at an OS level with some of the best software around. If Microsoft continues down this path, it will be Vista that will bring the software giant to its knees--not Bill Gates' departure.

Of course, categorically dumping an operating system is quite difficult and with millions already using the OS, chances are Microsoft won't find a good enough reason to do it. And while I can understand that argument, there's no reason the company can't continue to support Vista and go back to the drawing board for its next OS. Even better, go back to XP--it's not nearly as bad as Vista.

As a daily user of Mac OS X, Ubuntu and Vista, I'm keenly aware of what works and what doesn't. Mac and Linux work.

The time is up. Microsoft must abandon Vista and move on. It's the company's only chance at redemption
-- Why Microsoft must abandon Vista to save itself

Ouch. It's a pretty reasoned article, too. I can, of course, tie this back into the massive blunder Microsoft is making with PC gaming at the moment, trying to strongarm gamers into a new, apparently subpar, operating system while offering up a pretty paltry set of features to attract new gamers.


Thomas said...

It's not really that reasoned. He seems way off base, to me. My new laptop came with Vista, and I've really enjoyed it.

Rumors of UAC overkill are exaggerated--I only get prompted anymore when running tools like Process Explorer or the management console, or when installing software. That seems entirely reasonable to me. In fact, his complaint ("why I need to be asked if I wanted to do something entirely innocuous like open a third-party app from a well-known software company?") is very silly. Of course you should be asked, if it does something to require admin privileges. Respectful apps shouldn't, and shouldn't have done so for years now. Take it up with the vendor, not with Vista.

I might add that under Linux, I saw at least as many sudo prompts--if not more--than Vista throws up UAC dialogs, and in many of the same places. Not that Linux is some sort of usability icon, but if we're going to compare, then let's compare honestly.

Yeah, the loss of Ultimate extras is disappointing. But I don't think that's really hurting users. If you look at the feature matrix, there's really nothing in Ultimate that most people need over Home Premium anyway. The only thing I miss is a more full-featured backup.

Likewise, DRM concerns are exaggerated. I've had no issues running DVD decrypter or transcoding software. The media path only comes into effect for HD-DVD or Blu Ray, and will be the same on any platform. And Vista's licensing scheme is no different from XP. Why complain now, and why target the new OS? It's not like WGA started this year.

I'm not saying people haven't had issues. But my own experience has been extremely smooth, and on par with any other OS I've used.

Besides, we all know that Vista's not going to kill Microsoft. They've got time and resources to burn, until they can get more people on the platform and iron out the sticking points--it'll probably spread through OEM if nothing else. Lots of people don't read tech blogs, they don't hear this stuff, and they want the newest shiny software, which is Vista, like it or not. Calling for them to abandon it is not the mark of serious consideration.

Josh said...

MS certainly isn't going to walk away from one of their largest investments in the last half decade - but hyperbole might be making a point here.

The biggest condemnation, imo, is that the business class is rejecting Vista. This is Microsoft's bread and butter, their core market. Vista sales have been down, it's been losing space to XP and Microsoft just announced they agreed to extend the shelf life for XP.

Now, Microsoft isn't going to leave Vista and eventually they'll drag this crowd forward - it's not a new game for them, they had to drag some people into XP as well.

And I can't compare OS X to Vista, but can say that my Mac asks for a admin password on rare occasions, usually system updates.

From my personal POV, this all breaks down to multiple reasons why I wouldn't voluntarily move to Vista. It doesn't fix anything with XP and tacks on new annoyances.

And all the while Microsoft is completely dropping the ball on PC gaming, especially for XP users.

So yeah, calling Vista a failure that should be abandoned is hyperbole. But Microsoft's a big fish, and sometimes that's the kind of slap it takes.