Thursday, August 30, 2007

Again, missing the point on Vista

Larry Dignan, in his blog over on ZDNet, is continuing to miss the point on what's really wrong with Vista.

Microsoft's announcement that it is preparing a Vista Service Pack 1 beta in two weeks is curious on many levels. Although Microsoft delivers improvements via service packs I can't help but consider Vista SP1 a do-over.

He goes on to explain that most of what's supposedly coming in SP1 should already have been in the base OS, and that it's fundamentally "an indictment of Vista 1.0".

I can't complain about a new service pack for Vista (though I could certainly complain about the fact that it's about six months later than it should have been). And like everyone else, I really do wish that Vista was more stable out of the box, and had fewer compatibility issues.

But the real problem with Vista isn't its mediocre stability or its broken compatibility with so many different devices and software packages. It's that as a user, you don't get enough in return for the underlying changes that broke compatibility and that decreased stability. All things considered, taking the good with the bad, Vista is arguably better than XP. But it's not enough better to make it interesting. It's mildly better. It has a couple of really stupid features, and half a dozen fairly nice ones.

But note carefully: it took the world's largest software company, and some thousand of the world's best developers, five years to release a slightly improved version of Microsoft's most important product.

That's as clear a signal of an impending "inflection point" as I've seen in my career. I'm not entirely clear yet on what it means, but there's no doubt that it means something big. The times, they are a changin'.


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