ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Sunday, June 04, 2006

From This Vista, I'll Take Linux

It seems that the much anticipated (and much delayed) release of Microsoft's new operating system, called Vista, will be the disaster that I've predicted on this blog. Previous MSFT blog entries are:

  1. Wooooops
  2. Hasta la Vista - Parte Dos
  3. Re-arranging Deck Chairs at Microsoft
  4. MSFT

See this blog post from Evan Coyne Maloney & this article/review from one of Microsoft's supporters:
Windows Vista February 2006 CTP (Build 5308/5342)
Review, Part 5: Where Vista Fails

I still remember the day very clearly. It was Monday, October 27, 2003. Several thousand developers--and, let's face it, quite a few garden variety Windows enthusiasts--charged into Hall A at the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) like teenage girls at a Justin Timberlake concert, jockeying for the best seats. I've been to more Bill Gates keynotes than I can count, and this was the first time I ever saw anyone climb over other people in order to secure a better view. (No offense to Mr. Gates, but he's not exactly a dynamic speaker.) It was PDC 2003 (see my review) and everything was right with my world.

The purpose of this melee? Gates and Microsoft were about to unveil Windows Vista--then still known by its codename Longhorn--to the world. And sure enough, almost an hour into a typical Gates snoozeathon, the lights finally dimmed, the rock music kicked in, and we were treated to a musical and video feast for the senses (see my showcase). As I excitedly wrote at the time, "my goodness. [Windows Vista] is going to rock ... The transparent window effects--called glass windows, appropriately enough--are beautiful. The ability to embed video and any other kind of media into documents, apps, and anything else you can think off--even small previews you see when you mouse-over a scrollbar--are just incredible, surpassing anything on any system available today (yes, including Mac OS X Panther). The visuals in [Windows Vista] are just going to blow you away."

Let those words hang in your mind for a bit. Two and a half years later, Microsoft has yet to ship Windows Vista, and it won't actually ship this system in volume until 2007. Since the euphoria of PDC 2003, Microsoft's handling of Windows Vista has been abysmal. Promises have been made and forgotten, again and again. Features have come and gone. Heck, the entire project was literally restarted from scratch after it became obvious that the initial code base was a teetering, technological house of cards. Windows Vista, in other words, has been an utter disaster. And it's not even out yet. What the heck went wrong?

Be sure to read the whole thing...

MSFT's dominance in the operating system space has primarily been driven by the pervasiveness of its office suite and other applications and given the continued pressure that these applications are receiving from web-services (see Writely) and open-source alternatives (see Open Office), could a problematic release of Vista be the one thing which would push many frustrated consumers and businesses to consider moving off of the MSFT platform? And given the fact that the MSFT execs still don't seem to "get" the interweb, I doubt that they'll be able to handle the challenges that it is presenting.

As a lifelong PC user, I know that I'd rather migrate to Linux or Mac rather than install something which is incredibly ineffective and frustrating.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler