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Vista Indicates A Shift in Microsoft's Priorities 499

Posted by Zonk
from the end-users-at-the-end dept.
jcatcw writes "After hundreds of hours of testing Vista, Scot Finnie is supremely tired of it. And of Microsoft. Although 80% of the changes in Windows Vista are positive, there is nothing about Vista that is truly innovative or compelling; there's no transformational, gotta-have-it feature in Vista. But the real problem isn't with Vista. It's with Microsoft itself. His opinion is that Microsoft has stopped focusing on end users. They 'now seemingly make many decisions based on these two things: 1. Avoiding negative publicity (especially about security and software quality) 2. Making sure the largest enterprise customers are happy.'"
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Vista Indicates A Shift in Microsoft's Priorities

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  • Yep.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:07PM (#17851832)
    That's about my thoughts exactly, except let's not forget turning the screws on the paying customers.....
    • In other words (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Scott Finnie tests Vista for hundreds of hours, finds nothing wrong with it, so he complains that Microsoft now focuses on " Avoiding negative publicity (especially about security and software quality)". And it's somehow wrong.

      Booohoo, Microsoft releases a secure system! They are doing it only so that they can avoid negative publicity, let's slam them!
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Sorry, Vista is not stable. And systems that aren't stable are often very insecure.

        For example, look at this error message you get when installing Apache on Vista: http://cse.unl.edu/~mpeters/Site/lulz.html [unl.edu]

        IE7, which forms one of the cornerstones of Windows Vista, also suffers from some pretty serious problems. Here's a screenshot showing IE7 consuming 99% of some fellow's CPU time, in addition to over 1 GB of RAM: http://www.allsorthost.com/is_ie7_ment_to_kill_my_ cpu/ [allsorthost.com]
        • Re:In other words (Score:5, Informative)

          by bob.appleyard (1030756) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @09:19PM (#17853336)
          http://www.allsorthost.com/is_ie7_ment_to_kill_my_ [allsorthost.com] cpu/ This image has been doctored. I will not trust it.
        • Re:In other words (Score:5, Informative)

          by rtb61 (674572) on Friday February 02, 2007 @02:10AM (#17855442) Homepage
          Got Vista on a new PC and would have to agree. It wasn't long before the control panel wouldn't open, some software installed would not add entries to the start menu, random lock outs without notification on the windows firewall and of course the inevitable missing drivers.

          It was a Dell box (surprisingly quick delivery, ordered Monday, delivered Thursday). The nvidia display driver sucked and the fonts were disgusting (looked just fine post XP).

          Replaced it with stale piss (XP-legal) the next day.

          It is still not ready, and M$ is just turning end users into free beta testers yet again (shame on Dell for bowing to M$ and eliminating customer choice on some models).

          Anybody who think aero looks good must have also loved all those chromey bits on 1970s - 1980s japanese cars).

      • Re:In other words (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@nOsPAm.hotmail.com> on Thursday February 01, 2007 @08:58PM (#17853106) Journal
        Scott Finnie tests Vista for hundreds of hours, finds nothing wrong with it, so he complains that Microsoft now focuses on " Avoiding negative publicity (especially about security and software quality)". And it's somehow wrong.

        Spending six years and six billion dollars to achieve little more than a (debatable) improvement in security and a glossy but irritating GUI is wrong.

        Imagine what a company that cared about its customers could do with those resources.

        • by Roadmaster (96317) <.moc.ananabusognahcemot. .ta. .rmdaor.> on Thursday February 01, 2007 @10:21PM (#17853850) Homepage Journal

          Scott Finnie tests Vista for hundreds of hours, finds nothing wrong with it, so he complains that Microsoft now focuses on " Avoiding negative publicity (especially about security and software quality)". And it's somehow wrong.

          Spending six years and six billion dollars to achieve little more than a (debatable) improvement in security and a glossy but irritating GUI is wrong.

          Imagine what a company that cared about its customers could do with those resources.

          hum.. let's see.. six billion dollars.. how about 1000 copies of steve austin??

        • Imagine what a company that cared about its customers could do with those resources.
          Yeah, just look at Apple. They release a touchscreen cellphone with a name that infringes on another company's trademark. The customers love the phone, and love Apple, while Apple screws over other companies.
        • Re:In other words (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheLink (130905) on Friday February 02, 2007 @01:30AM (#17855238) Journal
          Uh but that's not why Vista was made. It's not about security at all.

          What you see here is Microsoft slowly boiling frogs.

          The main reason for Vista (or any MS Windows/Office release) is so that Microsoft won't end up "Yet Another Windows XP Compatible Vendor" just like the BIOS market - lower margins etc.

          If Microsoft didn't keep introducing new APIs and try to force people to migrate to Vista for DirectX10, people would gradually come up with viable compatibles for DirectX9 and Windows XP. You can already see signs of that with Cedega and WINE.

          If Microsoft waited too long to change stuff, a lot of people might go, hey I can still use this WinXP Compatible O/S for my stuff and I don't need all that bloat and DRM. And then it's bye-bye high profits etc.

          If people would just think long term and kept telling Dell, HP etc, and software vendors (games) that they don't want Vista and stick to XP for a while longer, then there's hope for change and after that _real_ innovation.

          But I don't see much hope for that - hardly anyone listens to me :p.

          People will switch to Vista just because Dell/HP/IBM/OEMs preload it, even though Vista has significant disadvantages (DRM bloat etc) and mostly insignificantly improvements.
          • Re:In other words (Score:4, Insightful)

            by CDarklock (869868) on Friday February 02, 2007 @10:58AM (#17858666) Homepage Journal
            Disclosure: I'm a contractor working on Vista at Microsoft.

            > What you see here is Microsoft slowly boiling frogs.

            You know that doesn't work, right? The frog eventually does jump out of the water. If you extend the analogy to consumers, raising the heat too much does in fact make them leave.

            > If Microsoft didn't keep introducing new APIs
            > [...] people would gradually come up with
            > viable compatibles for DirectX9 and Windows XP.

            Wasn't five years long enough? XP came out in 2001, DX9 in 2002, why couldn't the industry produce compatible alternatives over that five year period? Doesn't it seem reasonable to conclude that a market which couldn't produce alternatives in five years is not going to produce them at all?

            Microsoft are constantly innovating. A day doesn't go by that we don't have thousands of people looking at our products and saying "how do we make this better?" - because that's our job. That's not going to stop. Even if we wait ten years to produce an upgrade, we're going to be innovating and improving for that entire ten years. So if the industry does happen to produce a clone of our current generation, we just have to look back and find the last RTM-quality build. Then we dump it on the market, and your alternative immediately becomes obsolete. You may as well have never had one at all.

            Copying other people is a road to failure. It doesn't lead anywhere else. It's the major reason companies don't want to go open source, because their competition could copy them more easily, and the open source community has a huge body of very intelligent explanations as to why this reason is STUPID. Copying doesn't work. It's a bad business model. It doesn't serve consumers.

            Besides, why would I buy a cheap copy of Windows instead of the real thing? After all, you get what you pay for - or, more precisely, you pay for what you get. What am I not getting when I buy this cheap Windows clone? Clearly I'm not getting SOMETHING, or it would cost the same.

            > hardly anyone listens to me

            I'm listening. I have roughly the influence of a hemorrhoid, but I'm still listening. ;)
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              "Disclosure: I'm a contractor working on Vista at Microsoft"

              My brother-in-law is a 6 year veteran tester at microsoft (FTE not contracter) on the Vista project and his Vista advice was, to quote "leave it alone, it sucks and is not worth upgrading to", he also questions "what exactly have we been trying to work on for the last 5 years?" and has explained to me that of the 3 original pillars for Longhorn, which would've made it innovative, only 1 one made it into the product and that was the GUI - in a red

      • Re:In other words (Score:5, Insightful)

        by novocastrian (653554) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @09:46PM (#17853590)
        That wasn't what he implied in the article. Scott Finnie's complaint was that the security prompts are too frequent & annoying, such that people will just click through or turn UAC off. Doing it that way means they can demonstrate how secure it all is - its all about the appearance of being secure and yes, avoiding negative publicity. Finnie also made the point that listening to end users is no longer their priority - if it was, they'd have implemented user access controls in a more subtle, non-intrusive and usable fashion.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CDarklock (869868)
          If you use Vista for a couple weeks, long enough that:

          1. All of your software is installed
          2. All of your devices are configured
          3. All of your personal preferences are set ...the UAC dialogs go away almost entirely. I haven't seen one on my dev box in weeks.

          That's about as non-intrusive as it gets. I'm also rather worried that so many people who are, apparently, considered qualified to review software in this industry - can't seem to figure out that the first week or two on a new system IS NOT NORMAL USAGE.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Thirdsin (1046626)
        btw if you call me a MS fanboy I will take your mother out to dinner... And never call her again!

        The "Vista" we see now is a step for Microsoft. Let's look at them for just a minute not as "corporate jerkoffs" but as the "special kid" in the class.
        A sampling on what that hard spent development cash was good for:
        -UAC: at least they took a clue from the rest of the community by utilizing the principal of a strong user / non-admin account.
        -New IE7: Time will tell, but the new feature of running in a low-
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:39PM (#17852268)
      where they make the most money. The moms and pops are not as big a revenue source and are a pain in the ass (low profits per sale)!

      MS's biggest problem is to try justify all the effort that goes into making something "new" that is not perceived to be new by most people looking at it from the outside. There must be a lot of investors/share holders asking why MS spent $5bn or whatever developing Vista when XP seems healthy enough.

      • by Runefox (905204) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @08:17PM (#17852712) Homepage
        Huh? No profit margin on the moms and pops? When a retail copy of XP Pro costs $389 CAD, and an OEM copy costs $189? How much are the megacorps buying it for?
        • by MentlFlos (7345) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @08:44PM (#17852986) Homepage
          You forgot licensing.

          Sure the OS costs $189 or less per station if you buy a VLK for it, but the server it talks to needs the right licensing to be legal.

          Terminal server, for example, is stupid expensive per remote access license. Oh you want Exchange server? Thats $N. Want to actually CONNECT to it? Thats ($Y * (number of connections)).

          -paul

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dreamlax (981973)

          I worked in retail once. We sold Office 2003 for $199 NZD. We made about $14 per copy, so we stopped selling software. The computer industry in general never gave retailers much in terms of margins. Laptops etc. would make sometimes less than half of what other products would at the same selling price.

          Still . . . if you don't stock it, that's $14 in someone else's till. Well at least that's what my boss always used to say. I told him it's not worth the time and effort for $14. Software and IT weren't real

  • Join the bandwagon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alshithead (981606) * on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:07PM (#17851836)
    "Although 80% of the changes in Windows Vista are positive, there is nothing about Vista that is truly innovative or compelling; there's no transformational, gotta-have-it feature in Vista. "

    They attempted to improve their security and GUI. Any additional features were already available as third party add ons or with different OS's. Were we really expecting anything else? Time will tell if their attempts were successful. I for one have no interest in Vista other than possibly having to use it at work.

    "His opinion is that Microsoft has stopped focusing on end users. They 'now seemingly make many decisions based on these two things: 1. Avoiding negative publicity (especially about security and software quality) 2. Making sure the largest enterprise customers are happy."

    Again, no surprise here... Marketing is all about positive publicity and MS recognizes that their bread and butter is evolving into the large, medium, and small corporate entities that are locked into their OS and apps...not the everyday home end user.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by eviloverlordx (99809)
      They attempted to improve their security and GUI. Any additional features were already available as third party add ons or with different OS's. Were we really expecting anything else? Time will tell if their attempts were successful. I for one have no interest in Vista other than possibly having to use it at work.

      I guess they're also trying to sell high-end graphics cards and CPUs, too.
    • by suckmysav (763172) <suckmysav@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:12PM (#17851908) Journal
      You know, I agree with most of what you write, apart from the "everyday home user" stuff.

      If they are not interested in the everyday home user then why on earth would they be currently in the middle of ploughing through half a billion dollars woth of mass market TV adverts trying to convince people to go "Wow" when they first see Vista?
      • "If they are not interested in the everyday home user then why on earth would they be currently in the middle of ploughing through half a billion dollars woth of mass market TV adverts trying to convince people to go "Wow" when they first see Vista?"

        Good point. I think however that their marketing campaign towards the end user is really nothing more than trying to justify why folks should buy new PCs with Vista. Folks buy new PC, get Vista, AND upgrade to the new Office. The OS is a freebie and the bonus
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Good point. I think however that their marketing campaign towards the end user is really nothing more than trying to justify why folks should buy new PCs with Vista

          Not to mention the anti-PC Apple advertising that is on the air right now. It's like a political contest - if you don't respond soon people will think the meme is true and stop buying PC's altogether. Particularly because A) Apple is attacking Vista head on and B) the commercials are really funny and easily likeable.
        • by timeOday (582209) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @08:07PM (#17852602)

          "If they are not interested in the everyday home user then why on earth would they be currently in the middle of ploughing through half a billion dollars woth of mass market TV adverts trying to convince people to go "Wow" when they first see Vista?"
          This reminds me of some ads I've seen "BASF... We don't make the things you buy, we make the things you buy better." Remember those? It was like they were purposely saying, "99% of you within the sound of our voice, we don't care about you... you can't even choose to buy our products or not, because they're everywhere in everything. To the other 1%... look how much we can waste on this - that's how big we are."

          Or remember Enron saturating the airwaves with ads for their new bandwidth commodities market? How many of the viewers were really commodities traders? I think it's just a "show of force."

          Is Microsoft really trying to accomplish anything or spread any message, or simply maintaining their larger-than-life image?

          • by Darby (84953) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @09:02PM (#17853180)
            This reminds me of some ads I've seen "BASF... We don't make the things you buy, we make the things you buy better." Remember those? It was like they were purposely saying, "99% of you within the sound of our voice, we don't care about you... you can't even choose to buy our products or not, because they're everywhere in everything. To the other 1%... look how much we can waste on this - that's how big we are."

            My thought when seeing those was it was more geared towards potential investors. If you've never heard of the company you're less likely to buy stock in it yada yada.
            Of course, that is just what popped into my head when I tsaw the ads, so it could be completely wrong.

          • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @10:47PM (#17854126)
            My favorite pointless ad campaign was "Plastics Make It Possible."

            I always wanted to say, "wow, I was going to by that wooden laptop, but because of that ad, I think I'll buy the plastic version! Thank!
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by titzandkunt (623280)

            "...This reminds me of some ads I've seen "BASF... We don't make the things you buy, we make the things you buy better." Remember those? It was like they were purposely saying, "99% of you within the sound of our voice, we don't care about you... you can't even choose to buy our products or not, because they're everywhere in everything. To the other 1%... look how much we can waste on this - that's how big we are."

            I disagree. The purpose, in my view, of adverts like this is purely to spend money on adve
    • by Vengeance_au (318990) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:34PM (#17852212) Homepage Journal

      Marketing is all about positive publicity and MS recognizes that their bread and butter is evolving into the large, medium, and small corporate entities that are locked into their OS and apps...not the everyday home end user.

      I think it goes a little deeper than that - as another reply points out, they are spending buckets of cash on heart-and-minds right now (anyone else notice the slew of Vista ads on slashdot?). I believe they recognise people prefer to use a single system across all their computing, and if they can get Vista in homes, there will be more pressure for it to be running in the office.

      Additionally, corperate users are generally slower adopters (or at least should be!) - validation of existing software on new plaftorms, cost/benefit analysis, beta testing etc. And most corp IT shops have learned to wait for SP1 before giving software a good shake anyway. So for now the majority of Vista uptake will be home users. In 3-6 months, the corps will start coming online with their purchases and the balance will swing.
  • I suppose Microsoft BASIC was good back in the day.
    • Um, excuse me but (Score:3, Insightful)

      by winkydink (650484) *
      large enterprise customers are end-users if you define end-user as the one who writes the check for the software.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by node 3 (115640)

        large enterprise customers are end-users if you define end-user as the one who writes the check for the software.

        Users are the people who *use* the software. Enterprises are not users (although they do contain users). Enterprises are customers. Customers are the ones who write the checks.

        This means that, for the most part, the end-users in the enterprise are generally *not* the customers, which leads directly to the issue raised in the article. Namely, that MS is focusing on their (corporate) customers, and all but completely ignoring their users.

    • MS-Basic ?? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anne Honime (828246)
      Pardon me, but back in those times, you never tried CBasic dialects, did you ? If you had, you surely wouldn't mention MS-Basic as a good product from Microsoft, focused on users. Even then, most other basics had already dropped line numbering in favor of non-sequential numeric labels at worst, alpha labels at best. And to nail it, no other basics of reputation I know of had computational bugs in floating point arithmetics.
  • Newsflash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HMC CS Major (540987) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:09PM (#17851870) Homepage
    Making the largest corporate users happy is the same thing as making the end users happy. The corporate desktop represents a large portion of their end user install base, and it's definitely a larger portion of the end user paying install base.

    Like it or not, corporate desktops are Microsoft's bread and butter.
    • by mordors9 (665662)
      And when did: 1. Avoiding negative publicity (especially about security and software quality} become a bad thing. If your system isn't secure and stable how happy is the end user going to be.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mandelbr0t (1015855)
        You've taken this out of context. TFA gives the User Access Control example. People turn off UAC because it's constantly prompting you, even for things that you don't think it should. It was a feature added to avoid negative publicity about security and software quality while contributing to neither.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by VertigoAce (257771)
          Aside from installing software, I doubt the typical user will see a UAC prompt. In eight months of using Vista, I don't recall a single unexpected UAC prompt. To put it another way, I have yet to see one for something that a normal user can do in Linux.

          Most people are under the impression that UAC is primarily intended to stop the user from doing something. To me that is a secondary goal. The real purpose of it is to prevent programs from harming the system. In other words, it's not really there to stop a u
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mollymoo (202721)

        And when did: 1. Avoiding negative publicity (especially about security and software quality} become a bad thing.

        The aim should be improving security and software quality, not trying to make it look like you are improving security and software quality.

    • The corporate desktop represents a large portion of their end user install base, and it's definitely a larger portion of the end user paying install base.

      ahhh the crux of the issue... do we cater to the people who are required by fear of litigation to pay... or force more people who pirate to pony up? that appears to be the question.

      i wonder how many people below class 3 geek can still pirate windows. isn't there a large portion of people who get windows with their new dells or hp's?

      • Re:Newsflash (Score:5, Insightful)

        by apoc.famine (621563) <apoc.famine@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday February 01, 2007 @08:39PM (#17852936) Homepage Journal

        Microsoft is in a major bind with piracy - they MUST make it easy for large-scale, unattended corporate installs. This means no serial number to punch in every time, and no major verification routine. As long is this is the case, pirates (aaaarrr) will just snag these installs and run with them. When you're trying to get something like 50 million corporate installs, your bread and butter, going all streamlined and easily, you're never going to be able to adequately protect against piracy.

        At the same time, the harder they make it to pirate windows, and the more people have to upgrade to even do it, the easier it is to "pirate" Ubuntu. Which, with every passing version, adds another couple % of people onto the list of "does everything I usually need to do". That % is nowhere near 100% yet, but it covers a sizable chunk of the largely computer illiterate "email and interweb" crowd. And it's almost easy enough for them to pirate at the moment. Have you seen install.exe [ubuntu.com] yet?
    • Re:Newsflash (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 01, 2007 @08:09PM (#17852622)
      Making the largest corporate users happy is the same thing as making the end users happy

      Nope. Making large corporate users happy is the same thing as making CORPORATE IT DEPARTMENTS happy. It's a different kettle of fish.

      What sorts of things do corporate IT managers want?
      * Standardization
      * Security, especially protecting data.
      * The ability to set policys, and lock the users out of policy-violating actions (such as installing new software)
      * Ability to push required patches/updates out to users quickyl and efficiently
      * Ease of recovering from outages/problems
      * Easy back up of files.
      * Secure communication and collaboration tools.
      * Make my employees more efficient--make it easier to find and use tools and shared data.

      Basically, make it easy to maintain, secure, and don't let the users do anything I don't want them to do.

      What do end users want?
      * Ability to get news and information
      * Entertainment, be it DVD playback or streaming audio.
      * Communication with friends via a potentially diverse array of protocols
      * Play the latest games and work with the latest peripherals.
      * Share video, pictures, and other content with others on demand.

      See the difference in the lists? One of the reasons Apple is doing so well in the consumer market is that they focus on the second list (well, except games per se, but that's a different topic). They focus on what individuals would like technology to let them do.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by chgros (690878)
      paying install base.
      Most end users also pay for Windows. It's called the Microsoft Tax for a reason.
  • Why else would Bitlocker not be available in the Professional version?
  • by DrXym (126579) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:12PM (#17851912)
    Is the hologram on the DVD. That is pretty fucking cool! Otherwise... meh.
  • Nonsense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The_Wilschon (782534) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:17PM (#17851988) Homepage

    His opinion is that Microsoft has stopped focusing on end users.

    2. Making sure the largest enterprise customers are happy.
    Stop me if I'm wrong, but the "largest enterprise customers" are end users. They are not all end users, but they are end users nonetheless.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EXMSFT (935404)
      Most enterprise customers are not "Wow"'d by Vista either.
    • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Informative)

      by Strudelkugel (594414) * on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:52PM (#17852426)

      Stop me if I'm wrong, but the "largest enterprise customers" are end users

      I have copy of Vista Business, so I installed it on a spare disk. The hardware compatibility test app GPFed, which wasn't a great sign. I went ahead with the install to see what would happen. The installer archived all of the XP files on the disc, then installed Vista without any problems - or so I thought. Turns out there were no Vista drivers for my brand name NIC. Bought one of the few NICs with native drivers, so I was able to connect to the net. But what? No sound? No drivers for my sound card either.

      That was as far as I wanted to go at this point. The stark reality about Vista is that driver support is minimal at best. Rather shocking considering XP had drivers for much more hardware. I'm really curious if anyone knows why driver support is so minimal at this time. Does the consumer version have more? If not, all of the people who bought Vista are in for an uncharacteristic surprise.

      <tinfoilhat>Is the lack of drivers a conspiracy to get people to upgrade hardware?</tinfoilhat>

      Why are the hardware vendors so far behind supplying drivers?

      • Re:Nonsense (Score:4, Informative)

        by jonwil (467024) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @08:16PM (#17852696)
        Remember that Windows Vista has changed the way some drivers are written. The audio subsystem has been completely rewritten for example. And the way windows talks to display drivers has changed too. So all the drivers for these subsystems have to be rewritten to fit the new Vista driver model.

        Also, in order for all the DRM to work, only software drivers that are secure enough are allowed to run on vista if you want to use "protected content". This means that all those old XP drivers (many of which don't meet the requirements vis a vis protected content) wont work if you want DRM.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mollymoo (202721)

        The stark reality about Vista is that driver support is minimal at best. Rather shocking considering XP had drivers for much more hardware. I'm really curious if anyone knows why driver support is so minimal at this time.

        DRM-laden drivers? XP drivers would give you full quality even if you couldn't verify, to Microsoft's satisfaction, that you had paid for your content. Only communist homosexual evolution-believing terrorists would have any need to play content without Microsoft's explicit authorisation.

      • Re:Nonsense (Score:4, Informative)

        by shut_up_man (450725) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @09:20PM (#17853344) Homepage
        XP's driver support was much better than Vista, that's certainly true. This is probably because Vista has a new driver model, and XP was basically Windows 2000 Plus, which meant that the drivers were essentially the same. Therefore drivers for Vista are taking a while to appear in the wild, and upgrading on existing hardware is currently a bit of crapshoot. My recommendation to friends and coworkers is not to upgrade to Vista at all on their existing hardware at all - instead wait for their next hardware refresh when they can be assured (well, more likely at least) to have Vista-compatible hardware.

        For enthusiasts and box builders, sites like Tech Report have useful articles like their Vista System Guide [techreport.com] that includes notes on Vista support for various pieces of hardware in both 32 and 64 bit flavors. Interestingly the current video card king, the GeForce 8800, only has preliminary support for Vista [nvidia.com]. Updates are no doubt in the pipeline, but it's good info to know before going shopping.
  • by mandelbr0t (1015855) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:18PM (#17851996) Journal

    When all is said and done, it's not that I don't like Vista. It's that I've lost faith in Microsoft to deal in an evenhanded way with end users and corporate buyers of its software.
    We just need more intelligent, rational people to start thinking like this. I have no doubt that Vista will appeal to lots of users. Unfortunately, those users have been hosed repeatedly by Microsoft and still appear no closer to the quoted revelation.
  • Think Different... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by creimer (824291)
    2. Making sure the largest enterprise customers are happy.

    I guess this is why Apple is deliberately ignoring the Enterprise market.
    • Yeah, becasue the average user will certainly have a cluster of XServe RAIDs running XSAN over fiber channel.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by teh_chrizzle (963897)

      i think that the focus on the enterprise is because THAT is where people learn about the computers they use at home.

      unless you work with images, video, or music for a living, there is a pretty good chance that you are going to use a PC at work. there is a reason that apple runs those "i'm a pc and i'm a mac" commercials... apple wants people to equate PC's with boring work stuff.

      the only hole in this whole thing is, of course, games. directX 10 is a vista exclusive... a clear indicator that while the

  • Just sayin' (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kahei (466208) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:21PM (#17852038) Homepage


    Now I'm not saying this [slashdot.org] all came exactly true but if'n you ask me, some serious trolling of blogs for peeved-at-Vista articles is going on :)

    Which makes Slashdot about the only place in the world where anyone cares about it.

  • Odd logic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Merkwurdigeliebe (1046824) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:21PM (#17852042)

    But the real problem isn't with Microsoft itself. His opinion is that Microsoft has stopped focusing on end users. They 'now seemingly make many decisions based on these two things: 1. Avoiding negative publicity (especially about security and software quality) 2. Making sure the largest enterprise customers are happy.'"

    How can Microsoft simultaneously focus on their large enterprise customers (who have hundreds of thousands of end users) and simultaneously stop focusing on end users?

    Second: why would it be a negative to fucus on security and SW quality? Were these not the things MS was criticised the most for --for not focusing on security and quality enough --now this is their bane? What??? Make a straight argument. Or is he trying to say that MS is only pretending to address the issues and their main strategy is really a public relations strategy on security and SW quality?

    I get his gist, but he's just not explaining himself clearly. In critizing MS he's using odd logic.

    throw that boy some coffee

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:22PM (#17852062)
    that I can't get a PC/Laptop anymore with XP. I don't want Vista. I wouldn't even know which version to buy. You go up to MS's website to get a feature comparison and the only thing I can find is vague marketing descriptions of who should get which version. From what I gather, I just need the Home edition - I think. It would REALLY piss me off if I got that and then had to "upgrade" to "Business" edition just to run Office! And, other than viewing photos, the occasional mpeg, and multimedia things, I DON'T need video editing or sound editing capabilities, but am I going to have to buy the "Home Deluxe" or whatever the fuck it's called to view these multimedia files?!?

    Yessiree bob, Apple is looking better every day!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And, other than viewing photos, the occasional mpeg, and multimedia things, I DON'T need video editing or sound editing capabilities, but am I going to have to buy the "Home Deluxe" or whatever the fuck it's called to view these multimedia files?!?

      Sounds like you need Vista Pr0n Deluxe Edition

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 01, 2007 @08:00PM (#17852532)
      This gets modded interesting? WTF? I double checked the Vista product page, and it's so easy to understand that a trained monkey could choose the right version of Vista. That speaks volumes about the intelligence of the parent.

      Would you rather try to pick out the right Linux distro? A comparison would be 300 pages long and have a 10,000 point venn diagram, filled with obtuse technical jargon not fit for consumption by the masses.
  • What a load of... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:23PM (#17852076)
    Scott: it's a friggin OS, not a video game, it's not supposed to have a nice plot twists, hot action and lots of suspence.

    1. Avoiding negative publicity (especially about security and software quality) 2. Making sure the largest enterprise customers are happy.

    Funny, that. I can see how it's bad they don't attract negative publicity and piss off their largest enterprise customers.

    But tell me, how do these features fall into any of those two categories:

    * New aero candy interface (I bet enterprise customers demanded this!).
    * DVD maker.
    * Photo processing.
    * Live thumbnails.
    * Updated Windows Games.
    * DirectX 10
    * etc etc.

    There's a real reason why nobody is impressed with Vista as much: we've been watching it for 5 years. Previews, alphas, betas.

    Maybe Jobs is right to sue blog sites that leak product info, and release everything with a ton of hype, of the "Best. Chewing. Gum. Evah!!!".

    Because you see what happens now: people who followed Longhorn's development since it's inception are now whining that they're kinda familiar with what's new. Well duh, smartass.
    • Maybe Jobs is right to sue blog sites that leak product info, and release everything with a ton of hype, of the "Best. Chewing. Gum. Evah!!!".

      On that note, might I point out that the features you mentioned are akin to the comic included with each piece of Bazooka bubble gum: mild amusement wrapped around a pink, flavorless brick.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chandon Seldon (43083)

      Every one of the features you mention falls into the "avoiding negative publicity" category.

      Microsoft needs to keep Windows up to date on eye candy / included basic functionality so that they don't get smoked in reviews compared to Mac OS X (and even Linux desktops). The minor effort that it required for them to add a 3D UI and "live thumbnails" was more than worth it so they could bullet point those things on a feature list.

      As for the DX10/Games thing, that's more of an Anti-feature. Updates to Direct X

      • Re:What a load of... (Score:5, Informative)

        by suv4x4 (956391) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @09:30PM (#17853442)
        You know, I hate it when people talk out their asses without having any clue.

        "The minor effort that it required for them to add a 3D UI"

        Go read just the userland API details on that "minor effort". If this is all a minor effort to you, you should be writing the Windows killer right now and release it by the end of the year, why deprive the world of your incredible kung-fu programming skills?

        As for the DX10/Games thing, that's more of an Anti-feature. Updates to Direct X are normal as graphics cards improve. The news here isn't that Microsoft is releasing a new version of Direct X - that's normal, the news is that they're *not* releasing it for XP.

        Did the fact that DX10 is a complete rewrite escaped your attention? The whole thing is redone so the API has much less overhead, can multithread and allow videocard virtual memory (swap)? And this is the reason why it's not ported back to XP, it's a completely different architecture.

        But let me calm you down: Microsoft ported back all the new *shaders* capabilities to a DirectX9 release called "L". The same one that will also run in Vista alongside DX10.

        Aero itself runs on 9L as DX10 cards aren't even done or out yet. So what exactly are you spreading FUD about?
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:24PM (#17852096)
    > It's with Microsoft itself. His opinion is that Microsoft has stopped focusing on end users. They 'now seemingly make many decisions based on these two things: 1. Avoiding negative publicity (especially about security and software quality) 2. Making sure the largest enterprise customers are happy.'"

    That's been the case since 2K/XP, and arguably since Win9x and the introduction of IE/ActiveX.

    Word and Excel macros on by default? Of course! Everybody's on the LAN, and all content created by people in the office is trusted!

    NetBIOS filesharing on by default in 9x? Of course! Everybody's on a LAN, everyone should be able to share their documents with each other!

    ActiveX things that autoinstall and execute when some string on a webpage tells them to? Of course! Everybody's on the LAN, and the only thing they should be browsing is the company Intranet, and the only web applications are going to be about entering your vacation time into a database of timesheets!

    Javashit on by default! Of course! See above -- how else can we be sure to tell those UNIX greybeards that they're fired (because they can't run ActiveX TimeSheet Thingy that the consultant was paid $100K to write) unless they're running IE!

    Install IIS by default and make it listen to requests from everywhere? Of course! Everybody's on the LAN, and wouldn't it be cool if everyone had their own little web server thingy running on their desktop so they could share their Word documents with other people in the office?

    UPnP on by default? Of course! Everybody's on the LAN, and wouldn't it be cool if you just plugged the computer into the LAN, and it automatically knew about the printer down the hall.

    DCOM and RCP services turned on by default, listening on ports 135, 139, 445 or 593 for requests from everywhere? Of course! Everybody's on the LAN, and DCOM makes it easy for people to stick Excel spreadsheets in their Word documents!

    Goddamn near every out-of-the-box remote exploit (and most of the designed-in insecurities in IE and the Office suite) arises from the assumption that everyone's on a LAN, and that all content is trusted.

    • by YogSothoth (3357) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:38PM (#17852260) Homepage
      Excellent, excellent comment. If MicroSoft had simply realized from the beginning that they needed to treat *all* incoming content as hostile until proven otherwise they'd have avoided so many of these mistakes.

      Personally, I think they've always had a "not invented here" mentality and for that reason, didn't bother to study the lessons of those who'd been dealing with the internet for ages before it exploded in popularity.

      There's a reason java applets (lame as they were) weren't associated with the type of security problems we've seen over and over from MicroSoft. Sun understood the "all incoming content should be treated as hostile" principle and sandboxed applets by design from the very beginning.

      I've often wondered why some enterprising bottom feeder ... erm ... lawyer didn't take these assholes to court in a class action suit for the billions of dollars in damages their idiotic design choices directly caused.
  • They 'now seemingly make many decisions based on these two things: 1. Avoiding negative publicity (especially about security and software quality) 2. Making sure the largest enterprise customers are happy.'"

    DUH!
  • Testing (Score:5, Funny)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:27PM (#17852122) Homepage Journal
    I'd get supremely bored of testing an OS for hundreds of hours, too. My lord, man, have you never heard of applications? I'd shoot myself after the 300th hour of "fun with notepad".

    Although there's no must-have features, they'll bludgeon everyone with the DX10 stick and the "we won't patch XP any more stick after 2011" until everyone has bought it.
  • Windows is not secure......Bad Microsoft
    Security (a.k.a, User Account Control (UAC) for Trigger-Click-Happy People who click "Yes" no matter what).....Bad Microsoft

    Give me a break....Bashing Microsoft just-because-I-hate-Microsoft (a.k.a, Linux fan bois)
    is getting too old and childish. Grow up people!
    It is a "No-Matter-What-Blame-Microsoft" attitude.

    Overall, I think Vista is a gradual evolution of the Windows platform.
    Just like every other company, Microsoft had to make hard Business decisions.

    • Why couldn't they just release an NT 5.3 that's backwards compatible with the drivers from XP/2003 to some degree (WDM), while ditching the older VXD model?

      What would have been wrong with that? And keep the fixes for how async IO is done, and keep the new schedulers, and keep the new installer process, and so on.

      I don't care if it was a $149 box and $79 upgrade like XP vs. 2000... I just want some continuity between my OSs. Give me some nice benefits without the drawbacks.

      I mean, you want to talk about bein
    • by kindbud (90044) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @08:27PM (#17852822) Homepage
      Windows is not secure......Bad Microsoft
      Security (a.k.a, User Account Control (UAC) for Trigger-Click-Happy People who click "Yes" no matter what).....Bad Microsoft


      You aren't paying attention.

      Now that Vista has shipped and my review work is finished, I'll admit it: I turn off UAC on my machines. But here's the most important point: I've never even looked to find the off button for a similar feature on the Macintosh. Why? Because Apple smartly reserved the prompts for the most dangerous things, not everything.

      Bottom line: UAC and a few other somewhat invasive security measures are not about protecting customers; they're about protecting Microsoft from negative publicity.
      The criticism is directed at the poor implementation, not the fact that it was implemented.

    • Overall, I think Vista is a gradual evolution of the Windows platform.
      Don't delude yourself into thinking that tech savvy people don't put the heat on Apple for their similarly moderate improvements version over version because their Apple. Apple releases them every 1.5-2 years.

      This took Microsoft over SIX years to send out. People aren't saying it's not a gradual improvement, people are asking why the hell it took Microsoft SIX years to make such gradual improvement, how long its going to be before they make their next incompatable "gradual improvement", and whether or not Microsoft even has an R&D department. Most of the things they did were very clearly innovated by someone else.

      -Security's a problem? Let's create something that will let us blame the user. (UAC)
      -Games going to other OSs are a problem? Let's rewrite an incompatable DX10.
      -Third party drivers for video crads are crashing our driver model? Let's just gimp the third parties so that they can't and do it ourselves. (Bonus for gimping OpenGL.)
      -GUI/useability is a problem? Let's just slice and dice some Linux and OS X elements.

      The problem is not that Vista is incremental in change, it's that its incremental, it took six years, and Microsoft is forcing the incompatability anyways.
  • by crovira (10242) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:32PM (#17852178) Homepage
    Microsoft doesn't really care about the little single machine buyer.

    The entire publicity was done to get mainstream media's attention and tell the corporate buyers, who buy not 1 machine at a time but 10,000 to 20,000 machines at a time that the change is coming.

    The end-user who's sing a PC at home isn't going to upgade his OS until he buys a new machine, and he's taking what they're giving because he has no real choice.

    Unless he buys a Mac or is geeky enough to get a Linux box. (That means YOU reading this, and you didn't give a shit what Microsoft was doing anyway, did you?)

    Its all being done for the volume buyers.
  • by fermion (181285) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:33PM (#17852208) Homepage Journal
    If this were the 80's, and people had a choice, then I could see why this strategy would be bad for MS. In the 80's, it did not matter what computer a user had at home. As long as the computer had the appropriate terminal emulator, the user could dial in and work. This is why I could work on my Apple /// with little ill effect. I had Kermit, so it did not matter. Most everything was transfered in text, so weird binaries formats were not an issue, and when data was transfered as binary, little endian to big endian was not a major problem.

    Fast forward 20 years. Everything is in MS Word format, which may or may not work with a particular version of Word, and is much more likely to work with another Office application. We are nearly 100% connected, but if you do not have the MS Windows only version of IE, there are significant web pages that will not work. It now matters that you have the same computer as work, if for no other reason than you can use the office copy of MS Office.

    If there was the fluidity of motion of the 80's, then perhaps the MS strategy would be as disastrous as the IBM strategy. However, I do not see millions of users moving from the WinTel machine to something cheaper, nor do I see millions of users who never bought a computer before buying something other than a Wintel. Perhaps a few hundred thousand will buy a Mac, and few hundred thousand will buy a *nix machine, but that is not going to be a short term problem for MS.

    Ultimately Vista does what it is supposed to do, which is to satisfy the contract of those that paid MS for very expensive long term licensing, as well as justify the higher cost machines from MS real customers, the OEM computer people. A positive ancillary purpose of MS Vista is to further isolate MS OS from other commodity products, thus making it harder to switch. This is a risky proposal, but perhaps the only way that MS can continue to amass the huge profits on what is essentially old stock. Good for them.

  • by mpapet (761907) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:38PM (#17852258) Homepage
    to the phrase "largest enterprise clients."

    I keep having this strange dream where most of the governments of the industrialized nations got tired of the myriad of problems they have when one connects a relatively anonymous PC to the Internet and decided to do something like mount a smart card module on a motherboard to generate a unique, verifiable signature (among other things) for each pc.

    Just a dream though...

  • Well, not fair, as I got IPv6 too, and a pretty little clock.

    Buy it bitches! (still a shareholder)

  • It seems to me Vista has had a lot of its inner gears re-tooled so that others can add-on the new applications. The sound features alone seemed to have been re-oriented more than people might be aware of.

    "Vista redefines the audio landscape, but is it a landscape of forced obsolescence?"

    http://pc.ign.com/articles/759/759538p1.html [ign.com]

    In this blog there is video about how the audio stack in Windows Vista has been rewritten so people can have per-app audio control.

    http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=1 [msdn.com]
  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:56PM (#17852472) Homepage Journal
    He's right about those "largest enterprise customers." The example I've been following is Exchange. If you've installed Exchange 5.5 back in the 1990's, you'd remember a relatively easy installation. Set up Windows NT, pop in the Exchange CD, and you basically had a working system. (It'd be an open relay, but that's another story.)

    Fast forward to 2007. In order to install the current version of Exchange you pretty much have to become a directory services expert. You need to know Active Directory pretty well, and basically be at the MCP level of Microsoft-brainwash. Sure, this is great if you're running something like Ford Motor Company and you have 100,000 users at dozens of locations, but what if you're a small to medium business and you just want to set up a basic mail and calendar server?

    Disclaimer: the reason I know about this is because I'm involved in the development of Citadel [citadel.org], an open source groupware server. One of the things we focused on was making the installation as easy as Exchange 5.5 used to be. That's my "full disclosure". :)
  • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @07:58PM (#17852512) Homepage

    His opinion is that Microsoft has stopped focusing on end users.

    Which is exactly what an operating system maker is supposed to do. End users don't use an operating system, developers do.

    If Microsoft finally starts giving developers priority over end users, Windows might actually become something useful someday.

  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eskarel (565631) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @08:51PM (#17853036)
    There's not really all that much innovation in OS X(sure putting a pretty gui on a unix background hadn't been done successfully before, but that doesn't make it innovative), there's not really even all that much innovation going on in linux lately. Nearly everything that gets included into an OS existed in a third party app before anyway, that's what third party apps do, they add functionality to the OS, and if they turn out to be a good idea they get incorporated into the operating system later.

    Vista contains quite a few very nice new features, volume shadow copy(sure novell's had it for 15 years, but not on the desktop), bitlocker(sure you could do that with third party apps, or if you configured it reasonably well, linux, but whole drive encryption is still pretty new, especially having it work in an efficient manner. Even the DRM is about as "innovative" as operating systems get(that's not to say it's a good thing, but not all innovation is good).

    Most of the truly innovative technologies in Operating Systems are really low level, new file systems, new kernel designs, new process schedulers, emulation, etc. We haven't really seen much innovation in any of these things in a number of years, certainly not anything that just changes the whole way we do things.

    ReiserFS is just another way of looking at journalling file systems, not a major new step. GNU Hurd has been working on a microkernal design for nearly 20 years and it's still not ready for prime-time, Microsoft has been working on WinFS for a long time too, and maybe eventually they'll have it, but not this time.

    In essence Vista is what 2000 was supposed to be and XP almost was. It's a reasonably functional and reasonably secure multi-user operating system from Microsoft. One which is relatively secure, but which can still run most of the programs you want to run on it. Yeah, it took them 10 years to get there, but if you think of what things were like in the NT/9x days, where you had to choose between an OS which wouldn't work at home(and didn't even always work in the corporate environment) or an OS which was about as secure as a sieve, we've come a long way.

    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Wylfing (144940) <brian AT wylfing DOT net> on Thursday February 01, 2007 @10:19PM (#17853830) Homepage Journal

      if you think of what things were like in the NT/9x days, where you had to choose between an OS which wouldn't work at home(and didn't even always work in the corporate environment) or an OS which was about as secure as a sieve, we've come a long way

      Um, no, we have not come a long way. Perhaps it is correct to say that Microsoft have come a long way, but nothing more. MS are just now implementing features that were commercially available in the bad old "NT/9x days" from other OS vendors. The truth is, we've basically tread water for a decade waiting for MS to catch up, while watching MS (unethically, if not illegally) strangle better technologies the whole time.

  • No change, really. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @09:02PM (#17853164)
    They 'now seemingly make many decisions based on these two things: 1. Avoiding negative publicity (especially about security and software quality) 2. Making sure the largest enterprise customers are happy.

    This is not exactly a revolutionary observation. Ever since the PC entered the corporate market Microsoft has been this way. The "end user" has been nothing more than a cash cow to be milked.
  • by david.emery (127135) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @09:40PM (#17853540)
    That's where WinTel and the rise of the 'CIO Culture' coincided. WinTel produced products optimized to make CIOs important, CIOs grew important trying to make WinTel, particularly Windows, work. The Intel part makes gigabucks on supporting each new product, that provides additional demands on computers. (Truly, what do you do now that requires several orders of magnitude more computational power than you did 10 years ago? If you're like most people, running email, word processing, low compexity spreadsheets, simple graphics programs for presentations and the like, I'd assert "not much." Sure we have more glitz, but does anyone think that MS Word now is that much more functional than MS Word 5 was on Windows 95???)

    CIOs and Micro$oft have been an evil combination. CIOs gain authority by fielding systems that have some sense of 'business case' but that require expensive tech support staff. Windows moves capabilities away from end users and to CIOs and corporate overhead. End users get stuck with problems that only CIOs can fix, but the CIO -never- has to pay for employee downtime when the computer goes south. In the meantime, the Microsoft monopoly grows, and no CIO gets fired for buying Microsoft, no matter how bad the crap from Redmond is (and there has been some -real crap- from Redmond.)

    This clearly started with WinNT's focus on 'the managed user experience' and was obvious to me by 2000. So I'm only surprised it's taken others so long. Geez, and they talk about -Steve Jobs'- reality distortion field!!

            dave (they get my Mac when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers, -or- they indemnify me against all of the delay, downtime and inconvenience of the alternatives...)
  • by t35t0r (751958) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @11:38PM (#17854542)
    You call killing support for opengl used in solidworks, catia, pro-e, maya and every other xyz cad/cam/cae program making your enterprise customers happy? I hope every one of those seats switches to Linux or MacOSX. Take a look at these benchmarks of WinXP vs Vista [tomshardware.com]

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