So, how is Vista doing?

After a lot of waiting, feature pruning, a few false dawns and a good deal of hype, Microsoft Vista was launched with much fanfare at the start of this year. Indeed more fireworks were used in the French launch than were used to celebrate the new millennium. Before the official release Vista’s DRM and security specifications were being referred to as the longest suicide note in history despite clever security improvements like ASLR.

(Microsoft security may well be an oxymoron. It is a much ridiculed aspect of the company and their software but did it really deserve a spot on the list of 2007 worst jobs in science?)

Slightly less than a year on and even with the release of the first service pack, 90% of IT professionals still don’t want it. Within six months of release, “Vista only” games were cracked to run under XP and then Microsoft themselves had to simplify the downgrade process for top OEM’s who wanted to revert back to XP.

First Microsoft tried monetary sweeteners to entice people to adopt Vista and then opted for what smacked of pleading to many. Positive press releases were rolled out but others later presented a different view of the state of things claiming that poor sales would hit their profits. Obviously statistics can be presented to spin things in more than one way and it would be a better man than I to try and work out the true figures and motives behind each announcement. Regardless, the sales rate of Vista started to tail off and then actually fell. Piracy may be rampant in China but even so, the sales figures in China were particularly dismal.

The wishlist for Microsoft 7 (the successor to Vista — previously codenamed “Vienna”) emerged last week. Strangely enough, I didn’t see any reference to actually being an improvement to the old OS or not sucking but quite a few features did look familiar for some reason.

Not being one to miss an opportunity, Apple’s PC/Mac adverts soon started to play on the apparent wavering confidence of the computing public. An especially clever piece of online advertising caught my eye this morning.

Japanese OS X Leopard sales figures seem to suggest that the campaign is having the desired effect for Apple, claiming over half of all boxed OS sales in October despite only being on sale for the last six days of the month.

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