What Went Wrong With Vista? Two Apple-Bashers Take a Look.

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Joe Wilcox of Microsoft Watch took time off from his recent Apple-bashing to reflect on Vista. Joe previously stated that Vista is fine now; the problems you read about were early issues that have been fixed. But he provides no details for this assertion, and given the continued flow of negative Vista press it seems no one else received the “fixes” Joe imagined. Still, Mary Jo Foley, Paul Thurrott, and others jumped on the bandwagon to declare Leopard the new Vista, though few actually believed the story.

But now, even with Vista supposedly fixed, Joe wrote this article to tell us the 10 things that went wrong with it.

Um, what? How did Vista go from being just fine, thank you, and better than Leopard, to requiring a list of what went wrong? What’s funny is that Joe can’t write this piece without acknowledging that Vista is at least disappointing, so just ignore all the BS he’s written the last six weeks about Vista being fixed and better than Leopard.

You can read Joe’s article, which isn’t without a valid point or two, but I’m skipping right to Paul Thurrott’s analysis of it. In this manner I can address both authors at once…

10. Too many versions.

They both agree there are too many version of Vista. Duh! A no-brainer.

9. DOJ and the EU.

They both agree that the EU and DOJ are a big problem. Bzzzzzzt! The DOJ didn’t even put a dent in Microsoft’s monopoly, which is why they still have it. Paul writes:

“Again, as I’ve written again and again, Microsoft has been too eager to meet its competitor’s needs in Vista in order to keep the antitrust watchdogs at bay. They’ve appeased various security companies, Google, and others, and the result is a watered down OS that could have, and should have, been more cohesive.”

The idea that Vista is “watered down” in order to satisfy the DOJ watchdogs is silly. Windows is — by necessity — a lowest-common-denominator OS because Microsoft can’t keep its monopoly propped up by introducing a product that will leave too many older PCs and peripherals behind. MS extends support as far back as it can claim to, and always has.

It’s funny; this backward compatibility is what the MS shills used to always brag about, but now it’s suddenly resulting in a “watered down” OS. Even funnier that they blame it on the DOJ, who MS repeatedly stuck their tongue out at, failing to meet documentation deliverables time and again.

8. Office 2007 missing link.

Joe believes that not equating Office 2007 with Vista is an issue. Paul disagrees. I kind of side with Paul on this. I think Joe is looking for an Office “halo effect”, but making too much of Office 2007 Vista-specific would have just infuriated a user base who thinks Vista is crap, but wants the new Office. By making Office equal on XP, I believe they increased Office sales.

7. WOW went away.

The next point is where Paul gets all worked up. I can just see him now, hunched over his keyboard, mumbling to himself, nervously trying to control his shaking hands as he types out beauties like this:

“Apple’s absolutely BS-tacular “300+ new features” claim for Leopard.”

“I’m sure Microsoft could come up with 1000+ “features” in Vista if it just used Apple Math ™.”

Paul, “Apple Math” simply lists the new features and then counts them. Guess what? It comes to over 300, which some would express as “300+”. So the only real question is: Can you count? Sure, you don’t think some of them are “features”, but Apple had the balls to list every one of them and let consumers judge for themselves. How radical. Meanwhile, where’s Microsoft’s list?

“the Apple “Get a Mac” ads, which are almost criminally untrue, should be fought.”

“most consumers don’t know that those ads are mostly just outright lies.”

The “Get a Mac” ads win awards for a reason. They’re not even remotely “criminally untrue”. Save that BS rhetoric for Microsoft when their representatives quote alleged Zune market share, or claim channel-stuffed XBOX units as “sold”, or claim a percent of the mobile market they do not possess, or claim 295 patents against open source but won’t reveal them, or hack together a vapor demo of a big ass table with touch controls and a shipping date that‘s already been pushed back. The list is endless.

If Microsoft ever told the truth it was purely by mistake. For Paul to point a finger at Apple while at the same time adapting a “see no evil” monkey stance with Microsoft is just further proof (not that any were needed) that he’s a major shill for them.

6. The ecosystem wasn’t ready.

Joe thinks the ecosystem wasn’t ready, and Paul counters that it never is. Had Paul been a bit milder in his disagreement, I might have understood, but instead we get this:

“This is the company that, by the way, delayed Vista past Holiday 2006 (see #4 below) so that the ecosystem would have even more time to prepare.”

Yeah, that’s why MS delayed Vista. Not because it wasn’t ready or anything. Heck, now we know it wasn’t even ready when they did release it, yet Paul is claiming it was ready months earlier? Whatever. Paul’s lost.

“As if the five+ year development time wasn’t already enough. Screw the ecosystem. These guys never show up. And everyone just blames Microsoft.”

The number of peripherals and video cards that worked properly with Vista on upgraded systems upon release could be counted on one hand — even a hand that’s been through an industrial accident. So Paul’s theory is that every third-party vendor fell down on the job? Bullshit. It’s clear Vista was a moving target for its entire development timeline. It’s equally clear the embedded DRM to appease content providers is wreaking havoc on getting drivers to work properly. Microsoft is blamed because it’s primarily their fault.

5. Design by committee.

Joe and Paul agree that the “design by committee” approach is an issue. but Paul has to whine about the antitrust groups as well. No one’s buying it. That was #9 Paul, let it go. Besides, the DOJ wants to wash its hands of Microsoft, and yet nothing has changed in terms of their monopoly.

4. Bad timing.

Joe and Paul agree on bad timing, but Paul also gets a dig at Apple (because he must):

“But then we can also point to Apple’s decision to rush Leopard out the door in October (after delaying the product several times) in order to make this year’s holiday selling season. “

Leopard was delayed once Paul. Just once. 1. That would be one time. One. You might have more lies in just one column than all the alleged “lies” in all the “Get a Mac” ads combined.

“And it’s not clear this was the right choice: Leopard was clearly not ready for prime time when it shipped and is arguably still not ready. “

Another big, fat, glaring lie. And no one’s buying it, Paul. Joe began it, then you piled on, but you’re both already changing tack as witnessed by the very articles on which I’m commenting. Reviews of Leopard are overwhelmingly positive, comparisons with Vista favor Leopard, and negative press about Vista continues almost daily.

Funny how Paul turned “bad timing” for Vista into a tirade against Apple.

“I will say this: Credit Microsoft a bit for being mature enough to miss Holiday 2006. It’s sales suffered as a result, but the OS was also in better shape when it did ship.”

BWAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I countered the Holiday 2006 argument in #6, and since MS doled out coupons for free Vista with every PC sold during that holiday season sales didn’t suffer anyway. Just another falsehood. In fact, MS used those coupons when proclaiming Vista’s first 30-day sales numbers! They claimed 20M “sold” in the first 30 days, but the coupons went back an additional 60 days. It was a dishonest act by a dishonest company, but Paul “see no evil” Thurrott doesn’t care; apparently too busy being outraged about “Get a Mac” ad “lies” like saying there are too many versions of Vista (despite item #10, apparently).

As for the “better shape” Vista was in when it finally shipped, I addressed that in #6 as well.

3. Complexity is a killer.

Joe bemoans Vista’s complexity. Paul blows it off, saying that Vista is no more complex then XP:

“You can get up and running on Vista quite quickly. Ultimately, that’s as simple as anything else.”

OK. But then he says this:

“I think we’re misunderstanding how huge this was in Vista. …the underpinnings were replaced with something brand new. It made image-based deployment and Server Core in Windows 2008 possible. It’s going to make Windows 7 possible too. It’s a big deal. A really big deal.”

Um, then didn’t you just agree with Joe? I mean, which is it? Oh, I get it. Vista is simple when it serves Microsoft’s purpose, but it’s incredibly complex when that argument makes sense. It’s complex. It’s simple. It’s complimple!!

(Yes, kids, you too can shill for Microsoft in the privacy of your own home. We’ll provide the talking points, you provide the blindfold, ear plugs, thesaurus and imagination.)

2. The “good enough” problem.

1. The Windows XP ecosystem.

Paul combines these as the same point, and he’s not far off. Bottom line is this is a bunch of whining about how XP is just too darn “good enough” for Microsoft’s own good. This was a silly argument when first posited; I commented on it then so I won’t waste time on it again, but look at this beauty from Paul:

“I don’t appreciate the complaints about XP SP2 either. That release could very well have been sold as Windows XP Second Edition… But instead, Microsoft gave it away by calling it a service pack because it felt strongly that all users should just get those improvements.”

Paul misspelled “Microsoft gave it away because XP was under constant attack due to horrid security, with Internet Explorer acting as a malware magnet openly inviting remote application installations without user intervention.”

0. Conclusions.

So we have two prominent Microsoft bloggers admitting that Vista was a disappointment, albeit under the guise of a simple “10 things wrong” article. Now we get to the best part. Here’s how Paul concludes his post:

“As of today, Microsoft has sold maybe 100 million Vista licenses a year into the OS’s release. Given that over 250 million PCs will be sold in 2007, that’s pretty unimpressive: I figured it would have been closer–much closer–to 200 million licenses by now.”

Paul’s admitting Vista’s sold little more than half what he expected! Still, even that’s not what I’m amazed about. Rather, it’s these last three sentences:

“So what really did go wrong with Windows Vista? These 10 points address some of the issues. But there’s gottta be more to it.”

grinch.pngPoor Paul! He knows Vista’s a dud. He also knows the 10 points are just cover and excuses, so there’s “gotta be more to it”. Was he scratching his head as he wrote that? Remember the expression on the Grinch’s face when he’s puzzled about the Whos having a great Christmas even though he took everything? (“And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.”) Well, that was the expression on Paul’s face when he wrote those last lines.

Sadly, unlike the Grinch Paul doesn’t have a sudden realization of the underlying issue. I know what the problem is, Paul. So do most reviewers, tech bloggers, high-end power users, Microsoft’s hardware partners, and independent software vendors. It’s been written about for 10 months, and the articles keep coming. The “more to it”, Paul, is simply that Vista is not very good. Really. Truly. It’s that simple. If Vista was a good OS, none of the other stuff (much of which applied when XP was introduced) would matter. No need for a top 10 list.

2007 has not been kind to Vista, and I predict 2008 will not start much better. Yes, sooner or later the issues will be addressed in the real world (not just Joe Wilcox’s imagination), and businesses will adopt it by attrition. But that’s another 6+ months before any real momentum is built. Meanwhile, Microsoft will definitely lose more ground to OS X, Linux, and others.

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2 thoughts on “What Went Wrong With Vista? Two Apple-Bashers Take a Look.

  1. Windows XP seems to be fine, why Vista? I have never tried Vista. Is it as bad as it keeps getting reported?

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