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?