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Everyone Blames Microsoft

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Windows Vista has been out in the wild for the home user for nearly nine months now, long enough for both us users and businesses to digest its impact on the market. The press has picked up on every moan and groan along the way, starting with the awful "Wow starts now!" tagline, but now the real figures are starting to come out.

So, PC World (including Currys and Dixons – all big UK high street names) has a good first half-year sales wise, but it could have been better. Profit margins were dented by poor sales of 'Windows Vista-related goods'… interesting phrase that. Fortunately, by selling iPods, HDtvs and so on they're doing well – no guesses where all our money is going this Christmas.

Still DSG's – PC World's parent company – shares dropped nearly 5%. Let's call that the Vista tax.

As reporting season, or whatever the bean counters call it, rolls on, it'll be interesting to see how many companies take aim at Microsoft, specifically Vista, in their reports – even though most of them are doing well – and what the typical damage is to their shares.

It'll also be interesting to see what damage limitation Microsoft will come up with to deflect this, and in the boardrooms of power, just how angry are the suits at Microsoft, and will it start to show outside of their glass towers? Remember all those promises Microsoft were making about the Vista revolution? I bet the accountants do…

When XP arrived in 2001 it was seen as a big step up on 98 and ME, and by the time Service Pack 2 arrived, Microsoft had created a stable, secure-ish operating system. Having climbed the mountain however, where to go next? So much baggage has been saddled on top of Vista, what with the launch delays, development goals that have failed to materialise and other issues, it has seemed that Vista could never achieve its own lofty goal and will struggle for years to replace XP.

With the company seemingly unwilling to learn from its mistakes, eat some healthy humble pie and unable to react fast enough to fix the problems, this could well be a self-fulfilling prophecy as users wait instead for the next big thing. On the sidelines we see various versions of Linux, all getting smarter and more friendly to use and, like a sleeping beast, OS X – happily running on x86 and 64bit processors – waiting for the time to strike. I for one can't wait to see Apple and Microsoft really fight it out!

Having used Vista since launch, I can't really see any tangible benefit, or the "Wow" for that matter and I'm increasingly thinking of going back to XP for better speed and less hassle, or trying something else entirely. I wonder how many others are thinking the same?

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About Geoff Spick

  • Richard Chapman

    I once lived in an abusive relationship. It wasn’t the black eye and broken arm kind, it was worse. My self esteem was constantly under attack. Not in any overt ways but by way of a slow erosion, so slow that I wasn’t even aware of it when the inevitable breakdown put me in the hospital. The point of all this was that I was living under an oppressive regime and I wasn’t aware of it. It was years after the divorce before I realized what had happened.

    Well, it happened again. But this time my abuser was Microsoft. And it wasn’t just my self esteem that was under attack, it was my freedoms too. The longer I use Linux, the more I realize that both Apple and Microsoft represent the end of user control. People say Apple is better but I think not. Can you imagine 95% of the computers controlled by the man who gave us one and ONLY one option for the carrier on the iPhone? It makes me shudder. At least Microsoft is fairly predictable, Steve Jobs is much more dangerous because he’s a lot smarter.

    I’m committed to doing everything in my power to keep that dystopia from becoming a reality. Microsoft or Apple in control is a very ugly future.

  • bliffle

    Yup, good point. I never felt so free as the day I realized that ubuntu (linux) potentially would do everything I ever had done or wanted to do in any version of windows. Not only that, but I could have a rump version of XP or vista in a small corner of my HDD for any unforeseen occasion when only windows could be used. Hard to believe, after all we’ve been led to believe about the necessity of either a big windows or big macintosh. After a few months of ubuntu there are only 2 low priority items that I have to port from windows to ubuntu, and they’re optional anyway.

    Best of all, when I have a problem I can undertake the solution myself, and there are plenty of folks out there at the touch of a few keys to help a person along.

    Now I’ve found that I can put my entire ubuntu operating system and my personal data on a 2gb USB pendrive, along with my “/home” directory and I can go anywhere, plug it into a USB port on a machine and boot it up just like home! Without disturbing memory or HDD of the host machine. It can be a friends PC, it can be in an Internet Cafe, etc. Just about the ultimate in portability. And if I put all that on a secured “ironkey” pendrive even if it falls out of my pocket or I leave it behind all my data will be secure.

    That’ll never happen on Windows or Mac because of marketing reasons.

  • Untill Microsoft retains the monopoly on operating systems shipped with computers (I know Dell, lenovo and HP are changing that!!), windows will remain the major operating system.
    I want to be able to buy Linux or BSD based computers in my local store!! and not only Windows… Of course Mac is also a good alternative 😉

  • bliffle

    I think you can buy a computer (cheap) at walmart that comes with “lindows” instead of Windows.

    But be warned: linux is NOT Windows.

    Yes, many windows-like Desk Top Managers (DTMs) are available, like gnome, KDE, Xfce and a bunch of others, that perform the same function as Windows, to provide a simplified interface between the computer and the user. They are similar, but not the same as the Windows DTM.

    If you have problems you will be responsible for solving them yourself. There are many many other people who have gone down the same path as you, and there are many people with high levels of technical expertise who can help you, but they are unpaid and will help out of a sense of community. But YOU will be responsible for hunting through the forums for technical help, for googleing to find special software, and for installing (sometimes even compiling) the software you need. YOU will own the solution, and you will be responsible.

    You will find that whining will not solve your problems. Hard work and strategic planning are required.

  • aussie_bear

    When Microsoft introduce “Window Genuine Advantage” during the life of WinXP, that pushed me into the arms of another operating system. (Anyone figured out what “Genuine Advantage” it offers yet?)

    Since I build my own systems (as a result of past pains of pre-built systems), I went with Linux instead of Mac.

    Windows Vista essentially reinforces the view that I made the right decision in switching to Linux. Yeah, I’ve tried it for a month. It feels like a student submitted a half arsed attempt of an assignment, while demanding an A++ for it!

    No, Linux isn’t for everyone…Yet. But someday, it will be. Give it time.

    The key thing Linux needs, is the ability to run any Windows app (flawlessly and seamlessly)…Once that’s achieved, there will no longer be the need for Windows.

  • is the ability to run any Windows app (flawlessly and seamlessly)…Once that’s achieved, there will no longer be the need for Windows.

    that’s what vmware is for.

  • bliffle

    Yes, and that explains why VMWare stock is soaring.

  • oh, and on the mac there’s something similar…though the name escapes me.

  • Dee Snutz

    RE: Pissed of Vista

    The install on Vista is a bee-otch. It can get a little loco on some older software that a user may tack on too. I thought the versionizing of Vista was a waste: home, premium, etc, who cares? it doesn’t differ in performance. Also, there is a weird symptom of Vista where it inexplicably drops the internet connection. It sadly cannot play a disturbing amount of DVD’s in its basic version.

    But with all that garbage, Vista is the most stable Microsoft OS product to date. Gone are the days where a system crash would wipe out all your stuff. And yes, it starts quicker.

  • It could hardly start slower.

    I can turn on my XP-running PC, go downstairs, brew some coffee, make a sandwich, go get the mail and the damn thing STILL won’t have finished starting up. And yes, I have done all those system management tricks ad nauseam. They’ve never made a blind bit of difference with any version of Windows I’ve ever run.

    I’m strongly considering relegating the old monster to the status of a home network server (and only because I can’t be bothered rummaging behind the desk and figuring out the jungle of cables back there). I already use my Apple laptop (which takes about 15 seconds to boot) for 95% of all my computing anyway.