Microsoft Windows Vista is celebrating birthday number one today on the anniversary of the public release. You can certainly say it has been a controversial first year. Vista has taken its knocks from many quarters, certainly from the mobile sector, but it has also continued to grow in terms of sales. If you follow the industry news, it looks like there is a growing trend that is moving beyond the “knocks” into the “Vista isn’t all that bad” column. That said, there is still a large chorus that wants to see Vista branded as a Windows ME type failure and move on. Some even say Vista is the best promotion that Windows XP has ever had. Recent confusing stories of a potential 2009 release of Windows 7 certainly doesn’t help. The final release of SP1 is supposedly just around the corner and there is a lot of emphasis and interest to see how well that changes the matter and the perceptions.
From a Tablet PC perspective, Vista certainly offered some great advances, (check out our GBM InkShows on Tablet PC features in Vista) and in many ways ushered Touch into the picture. Unfortunately, from my perspective, the big hope of making Tablet PC functionality available across the board by rolling it all into Vista (the bits are there, all you need is the hardware) didn’t yield the hoped for increase in interest and development of new Tablet PCs from OEMs. That is a marketing failure as much as it is anything else, as you need to look really closely in any of the hype about Vista to know that improved Tablet PC functionality is a feature.
If it seems that Vista has been around for longer than a year that is because it has. In the roll up to the final release to consumers, the various release candidates, the release to business customers, and of course the delays, were all covered breathlessly, and it seems, endlessly (certainly here on the pages of GBM), and rightly so.
TEO developer Josh Einstein has waged a one man campaign in the GBM Forums and comments throughout the year defending the OS from some of the charges leveled against it, and done so admirably, especially as it relates to issues that might be caused by drivers and hardware from Microsoft hardware and software partners. He’s raised some excellent points along the way and in our small world here, put the focus where it needs to be in some cases. In the final analysis though, the fact that Josh has felt the need to do so, demonstrates that Microsoft missed the boat by not being proactive in discussing and addressing some of the issues that caused concern. But then that seem to be the “accepted way of things” when it comes to talking about issues with operating systems and new releases. I think the large turnover inside Microsoft, shortly after Vista’s release, also had some impact on this as well, and if you ask me the timing of those moves was not only questionable, but in some cases damaging.
So, it has been a bumpy ride in Vista’s first year. In my one man’s opinion, there is still a lot to learn, still room for improvement, and there are still some questions unanswered. While Vista and some of its attendant issues have given me some headaches, I’ve used it almost exclusively since the fall of 2006 and continue to do so. For better or worse. Mostly better.
What are your thoughts?