Will Microsoft ever admit that Vista was a bad idea?

It takes a big person to admit that they’ve made a mistake. Companies, regardless of how large they become, were reticent until recent years to come clean with their blunders.

Microsoft ain’t one of them. They still think Vista is good. And why not — they’ve sold 60 million licenses for it. But I’d be really curious to know how many of those people would have preferred Windows XP.

In case you haven’t heard — and it looks to be kept fairly quiet — Microsoft is giving Windows XP a longer shelf life before it’s put permanently out to pasture. This is a result of all the vendors asking the XP be kept longer due to the demand (or more specifically, the lack thereof) for Vista.

The scary part is that Microsoft hasn’t really clued into this yet. Yes, they’re keeping XP on life support, but they don’t want to acknowledge why. Microsoft is trying too hard to earn money by ramming a less-than-mediocre product down their user’s throats. They completely misunderstood their market, created a sub-standard product, and were surprised when no-one bought it.

Microsoft missed the paradigm shift. Suddenly, half-assed isn’t good enough. Linux caught up. Apple released something far sexier and more compatible (and snagged a few percentage points more market share in the process). And security issues have been dogging the Big M for years, now. Why would anyone want to choose the devil they didn’t know over the one they’ve managed to get locked down?

And then let’s also consider the companies that have to deal with this infrastructure. Vista doesn’t cohabitate well with XP environments. Yes, they talk, but Vista prefers Vista. And Vista needs hardware. Lots of it. Too much of it. A recommended business solution requires:

  • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 GB of system memory
  • 40 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
  • Support for DirectX 9 graphics with: - WDDM Driver
  • 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum)
  • Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware
  • 32 bits per pixel

That’s just to use Microsoft Word. Am I on crack, or does that just seem a bit much? Or maybe it’s Microsoft’s acknowledgement that Word is a bit of a resource pig. 😉

No IT department is looking at Vista as a great thing. (Our IT team at Critical Mass is avoiding it like the plague.) It’s a burden, not just from support (those Apple commercials might be funny, but they’re also true) but also from a cost point. Who wants to pay more for a basic need?

You think the vendors haven’t figured that out? Dell, HP, Lenovo, Gateway — they’re not seeing the sales of Vista-ready machines. People don’t want it. This is pure supply and demand economics at work, folks. The demand ain’t there. No-one wants it. Forcing everyone to Vista isn’t in the vendors’ best interests — especially when XP still sells well.

I hope someone at Microsoft finally takes a hint from this. Ditch Windows. It’s done. Gone. Over with. Get smart and do what Apple did — base your next operating system on something better (like UNIX), and give it a much nicer interface. You’ll get the benefit of better memory management, better file system support, you get rid of the anachronistic registry, and ultimately better security.

You wonder why people are shifting to Macs? It ain’t for the logo.