Countdown to Vista: Microsoft's Past and Future: Page 3

Posted November 6, 2006

Rob Enderle

Rob Enderle

(Page 3 of 3)

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It’s kind of ironic but Windows Vista is hampered largely by three things. The first is that Windows XP is good enough for most and unlike previous versions of Windows, particularly NT, people aren’t really screaming for something different or new. The second is too much disclosure during the development phases, resulting in folks being more focused on what fell out of the product than what’s in it. And finally, Microsoft marketing remains relatively weak on demand generation, making it difficult for the firm to create the kind of wave that Apple, for instance, seems able to create without even trying too hard.

Strangely enough, Windows Vista is arguably the most important operating system from Microsoft ever. It's the platform that will lay the foundation for Microsoft’s move into the future of the desktop. It comes when many are questioning the relevance of desktop operating systems in the first place, the resurgence of Apple, and the emergence of Linux as a possible alternative.

We’ve been pounding on Vista for some time now and, in many ways, it is vastly improved over what came before. Often there are little things about a product that make it endearing and once you get over the annoying differences that come with any new operating system it just seems more fresh – things happen faster, and it appears (for good reason) to better protect you against threats.

This product has the most advanced built-in reporting mechanism to identify and correct (mostly without re-boot) emerging threats of any OS on the market today. And while it isn’t perfect it can better evolve to approach perfection.

It is the transition platform between 32- and 64-bit applications for the Windows desktop and server platforms (servers will go first). And it begins to represent a complete picture of how Windows products – and the users of those products – are secured.

Some things remind us of Windows 95 as competing companies scream that the product is anti-competitive. Yet most observers realize that the real problem these companies have is not Microsoft but, much like their predecessors, staying relevant in a changing world. Linux is free but actually has less desktop support than OS/2 did in 1995. The only material competitive difference is that Apple was withering in 1995 yet in 2007 they are clearly a power to be reckoned with.

The Internet is not only real, Google is the new Netscape and we are waiting to see if the search giant makes the same foolish mistakes. But even though many things seem similar, the world is vastly different than it was in 1995. This is this world that Vista and Microsoft must now face.

If Vista is the first thing on the road to Microsoft’s new future, it actually isn’t a bad start. Stay tuned.

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