What does Microsoft have against Windows Vista?

Don Reisinger thinks Microsoft is running away from Vista. But why would it want to do that already with Windows 7 more than a year away?

Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
3 min read

Over the past few months, Windows 7 has become the focal point of Microsoft's message. The company has spent time discussing how it arrived at "7" and why it will be the next great operating system from the software giant.

In the meantime, the company has spent considerable time releasing ads to discuss Windows and PCs, but hasn't done enough to talk about the benefits of owning Vista. But every chance it gets, Microsoft tells the world why we should all wait and see what will happen with Windows 7.

"It's not minor because it's a lot more work than a minor release. It's a major release," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said recently. "Windows 7 will be Vista, but a lot better."

Wow. Now I understand that Microsoft has a vested interest in seeing Windows 7 become a success, but doesn't it want to see Windows Vista become a success too? Sure, Microsoft would say that Vista is already a success and it doesn't need to prove it to anyone. But let's face it: major PC vendors like Dell and HP realize their customers still want XP and have yet to adhere to Microsoft's call for every company to give up on XP. And the way I see it, none of the major vendors will do that.

So what does Microsoft really have against Vista? It may not be the kind of quality operating system it has in XP, but it's not that bad, right?

Microsoft is running from Vista and, to be quite honest, I just don't know why. Sure, it's a troublesome product that has annoyed more people than most previous iterations of Windows, but we can't forget that as soon as Microsoft released Service Pack 1, the OS was significantly improved.

But I think Microsoft is running from Vista for another reason: businesses and vendors aren't happy about it.

It's easy as consumers to say that we're the only people who matter in business decisions, but that's simply not true. Microsoft has a slew of stakeholders that it needs to make happy and that includes businesses and its hardware vendors like HP and Dell. In previous years, making Dell and HP happy was relatively easy: release a new OS and they will fall in line. But now that consumer demand for Vista isn't nearly as high as vendors would like and businesses are loath to deploy the operating systems in their operation, two of Microsoft's staunchest allies are turning their backs.

With that in mind, Ballmer and company are forced to run. Microsoft can only put so much pressure on vendors before it fails to have anymore pull. And as Dell and others continue to downgrade Vista to XP, it's becoming abundantly clear that the control Microsoft once had over its stakeholders is dwindling.

Microsoft has finally realized that it upset some people with Vista. And now, in an attempt to return to its former days of prominence, Microsoft is running as fast as it can to Windows 7.

It may make some sense from the standpoint of wanting to return to former glory, but I simply don't think Vista is so bad that it requires shunning. Call me crazy, but wasn't Vista once heralded as the next big thing in operating systems?

If Microsoft still believes that, it better start acting like it or the enterprise and vendors will wonder if it will act the same way with Windows 7.

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