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At WinHEC 2007, Microsoft vigorously defends Vista

Microsoft dismisses negative talk about is new operating system.

To counter the flagging expectations around Windows Vista, Microsoft added a last-minute keynote this morning from Mike Nash, Corporate Vice President Windows Product Development, at this year's WinHEC, the Microsoft Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in Los Angeles. Nash used his 30 minutes to talk about the number of device drivers included in the Windows Vista box and available online, and also about the number of compatible or certified for Vista hardware products on the market 100 days after release. While the numbers are high--certainly higher than 100 days after the release of Windows XP--many feel they should be higher. Nash said that vendors are continuing to work with Microsoft on this. "Windows Vista gets better over time," Nash concluded.

On Monday, Microsoft employees bristled at comments from the press that users were unhappy with Windows Vista. With regard to User Account Control (UAC), Nash told reporters that "the process is the same in (Mac) OS X." He recounted how his wife recently bought a HP printer, and UAC had asked permission to install the driver. Being a second user on the system, she needed Nash's password to proceed. Nash said that he later installed the same printer driver on a Mac. "It asked the same question," he said. However, the Mac elevated the user's privileges across the board, while Windows only elevated the user's installation privileges.

On Tuesday, Microsoft provided figures from IDC predicting a strong adoption rate in 2007 for Windows Vista and the new Windows Server 2008 . IDC predicts that by the end of the year, 90 million copies of Windows Vista should be installed, and 35 million within the United States. By the end of 2008, that number is predicted to be 150 million worldwide, and 68 million within the U.S. That may be true, but an informal "over-the-survey" of WinHEC 2007 attendees showed most were still using Windows XP.