Tuesday, April 15, 2008

XP-Yes, Vista-No

Has Microsoft's strategy of forcing users to 'upgrade' whether or not they want to hit a snag? In the case of Windows XP, it seems that may indeed be the case. Microsoft had originally planned to stop selling Windows XP by January 31, 2008, but was forced to extend that deadline to June 30, 2008. However, now a new challenge to Microsoft's plans has surfaced, according to a story posted today on Yahoo! News. yahoo! reports that,
Fans of the six-year-old operating system set to be pulled off store shelves in June have papered the Internet with blog posts, cartoons and petitions recently. They trumpet its superiority to Windows Vista, Microsoft's latest PC operating system, whose consumer launch last January was greeted with lukewarm reviews.

No matter how hard Microsoft works to persuade people to embrace Vista, some just can't be wowed. They complain about Vista's hefty hardware requirements, its less-than-peppy performance, occasional incompatibility with other programs and devices and frequent, irritating security pop-up windows.

For them, the impending disappearance of XP computers from retailers, and the phased withdrawal of technical support in coming years, is causing a minor panic.

Take, for instance, Galen Gruman. A longtime technology journalist, Gruman is more accustomed to writing about trends than starting them.

But after talking to Windows users for months, he realized his distaste for Vista and strong attachment to XP were widespread.

However, as the writers note, the real pressure for Microsoft may be the almost 70 percent of business customers who have not yet 'upgraded' to Vista. The Yahoo! story quotes analyst Al Gillen as saying 'You really can't make 69 percent of your installed base unhappy with you'.

I recall talking to a data storage company recently and inquiring if they had changed over from XP to Vista. The CIO simply laughed and replied that Vista was too buggy to even consider using in the immediate future. I was relieved, since my own interaction with Vista, while limited, has failed to enthuse me about the latest Microsoft operating system.

I think ultimately Microsoft's arrogance, coupled with their less-than-stellar record of product releases may do them in as others work to topple their near-monopoly on the business platform market. Should that occur, they may well point to the failure of Vista as the starting point for their fall. Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

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