Is It Really “Game Over” for Vista Already?

Given the focus of this Web site, I hope it makes sense that I also follow industry news about Windows Vista as well as its technical ins and outs. Recently, I”ve noticed a growing swell of journalistic opinion/reporting that Vista has failed, that Vista is no good, and that the business world is aleady passing Vista by. Jason Hiner”s 10/6 story for ZDNet is a pretty good example of this genre: it”s entitled “The top five reasons why Windows Vista failed” and it reports the Vista OS as having already failed in the marketplace 22 months after its introduction in January 2006.

In Letterman style, Hiner lists his reasons in reverse order, so I”ll repeat them that way:

5. Apple successfully demonized Vista (my opinion: he gives Apple too much credit; corporate IT doesn”t care about Apple much, either).

4. Windows XP is too entrenched (call this a reworking of “if it ain”t broke, don”t fix it” and I”ll agree with this one).

3. Vista is too slow (cites a November 2007 article that shows XP SP2 outperforms beta Vista SP1; plenty of other articles corroborate this contention; my observation is that Vista works acceptably on a dual core system at 1.8 GHz or faster with 2 GB of RAM or more. It”s not a good idea to upgrade older, slower hardware to Vista for sure).

2. There wasn”t supposed to be a Vista (Hiners makes a pretty impenetrable argument that Microsoft never got its act together to do a subscription-based OS, and that Vista is really just an incremental upgrade. I give this one a “Huh?” reaction).

1. Vista broke too much stuff (lots of hardware and software didn”t work well with Vista, and more security raised the bar too high for average users. I understand this one, and have had my own issues with the OS along these lines).

His final contention is that “with Vista, there are simply no major incentives for IT to use it over XP.” He goes on to say that “Microsoft needs to abandon the strategy of releasing a new OS every 3-5 years and simply stick with a single version of Windows and release updates, patches, and new features on a regular basis.” Sounds like a subscription model to me (and to Hiner as well, if I read his conclusion correctly).

The real crux of the argument seems to be that “IT departments won”t adopt Vista.” I”ve also read statistics that report that less than 10% (8-9%, in fact) of IT departments have adoped Vista for their desktops and that most organizations are standing pat with XP waiting for Windows 7 (the current name for the next planned release, which makes sense given software numbers for Windows Vista such as version 6.0 and Build 6001).

Splash Screen says Version 6.0, Build 6001

Vista calls itself Version 6.0, so it makes sense to call the next Windows “Version 7.”

I”m not sure this means that Vista is already dead. And what does this say for end-users who buy new computers between now and late 2009 (the rumored ship date for Windows 7) that aren”t lightweight “Netbooks” with XP installed? They have no choice but to live with Vista, or perform a downgrade themselves. I don”t believe that Vista is dead, but it does certainly have its troubles. I would like to see Microsoft improve stability, and make Vista easier to manage and troubleshoot (especially by providing more solutions to problems reported through Problem Reports and Solutions in Control Panel). But in my book, that doesn”t make Vista moribund, merely disturbed. I”m still interested in seeing what I can do to create a positive Vista experience, and in working through such issues and gotchas as present themselves to me going forward. I have to believe I”m not alone here, both as an end-user outside of IT, and as a practicing IT professional.


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