Gizmodo has what has to be the saddest defense of Windows Vista that I personally have ever seen. In an article entitled "Ten Reasons Why Vista Isn't That Bad" they give the following list of what I will generously call features...
1. It's more secure than Windows XP
2. It's the best looking Windows yet.
3. Games work just about as well as under XP.
4. Vista Media Center is a fantastic DVR.
5. The sleep mode works.
6. Built-in search is better and more useful.
7. User Account Control is useful for some people.
8. Drivers support isn't as bad as it's made out to be.
9. It's not any buggier than Windows XP.
10. Vista is not slow if you have enough RAM.
Now the thing to notice about this list is how little there actually is. 3,5, 7, 8, 9 and 10 are all basically disproving an extreme negative (rather than listing a positive). 6 is available on XP and 1 isn't all that accurate (XP can be as secure as Vista if set up right). 4 is only available in the very expensive premium edition which leaves 2 (visual appearance) as the only real good thing that can be said about Vista.
They then go on to list several negatives which I think are all fairly significant...
1. Things aren't where they used to be.
2. File transfers are slower than on XP
3. Wireless networking is a pain.
4. Lots of balloon notifications pop up on the taskbar.
5. Folder view in Windows Explorer doesn't remember your settings.
This, to me, is basically the issue with Vista. It really isn't any better than XP and in some ways it's decidedly worse. Which is why the discontinuation of Windows XP by Microsoft (now scheduled for Monday) has been weighing so heavily on my mind.
At first I was really angry about it but now that most manufacturers have announced they will continue to offer a downgrade option it is less of an issue. That said I still find that, on principle, it bothers me and I think that says a lot about my current relationship with Microsoft.
I've seen a lot of articles that discuss Microsoft and the challenges they face in the future but from the standpoint of one of their corporate customers their biggest challenge is winning back my trust. Because they don't have it now and I often find myself actively looking for ways to avoid the Microsoft solution these days.
The reason for that is largely that the company has gotten to the point where they simply don't seem to care what I think anymore.
This XP decision is the perfect example of that. They released a new OS which offered very little and which no one was interested in. Then, rather than just accept that, they chose to force their customers into buying it. The message is very clearly "you will do what we say whether you like it or not" and honestly that's not a message I'm comfortable with.
The true irony though is that it didn't even work. The path they chose was so anti-customer that their own distributors chose to reverse it (albeit for a small handling fee). So not only are they the bad guy but they're an incompetent bad guy at that.
So I ask myself, if I weren't already locked into Microsoft products would I really be doing business with them? If someone came up to me on the street and asked if I wanted to do business with an incompetent company that doesn't care what their customers think would I really say "Yes"?
Of course not and that is something the people at Microsoft should think long an hard about.