Over on ZDNet, Ed Bott has posted a defense of Vista that amounts to damnation by faint praise. He rightly points out that XP had roughly the same problems in its introduction that Vista is having right now: not enough drivers, buggy third-party drivers, minimal support-by-Google-query. I think he's missing the point, though. Vista was supposed to be better than XP, and as an operating system, it's nothing short of disappointing.
There are two things I actually like about Vista: integrated desktop search, and reasonably cool photo management. XP doesn't come out of the box with either of them, but MSN Desktop Search is a reasonable substitute for the former, and Picasa is a pretty good substitute for the latter. On the whole, I do prefer Vista to XP. But not much. A little. I suppose. So if Vista is a mildly improved OS, why did we have to wait five frigging years for it? Yes, I know that they rewrote the whole thing underneath. I'm very pleased. But it doesn't actually help me in any interesting way.
Like I said in an earlier post, MS needs to be careful. There's a real opportunity here for Linux here – and given the recent popularity of everything Apple, an even bigger opportunity for OSX.
And I'll be damned if my brother doesn't think the same thing. Scary, that.
Oh, and on a side note: my Pocket PC phone successfully synchronizes with my Vista desktop about 10% of the time. It's probably because all the relevant software is written by different companies that never talk to each other. (Hint #1: it's all written by Microsoft.) Or because it's a 1.0 release and MS hasn't had a chance to get everything figured out. (Hint #2: MS released the first version of ActiveSync eight years ago.) Or because Microsoft doesn't have enough resources to troubleshoot these sorts of problems. (Hint #3: MS has ~$50 billion in cash reserves.) Or because this isn't a very popular configuration. (Hint #4: Almost every professional I know has a Windows CE-based phone.)