Gnomie Danny Smith writes:

Hi Chris,

I thought it would be interesting to watch your video that you made when Windows Vista had just come out, just before Microsoft releases Windows 7,

Do you think that the points you mentioned in that video still stand? Or do you think that Windows Vista has improved?

Personally, when you first started talking about Apple and OS X, I thought you were becoming an Apple fanboy. But, after giving it some thought, I realised that you aren’t at all. You show what consumers think. Windows Vista was a huge risk taken by Microsoft, which I think will be remembered when people talk about Microsoft and Windows.

Consumers want something that “just works,” and Apple has caught the mindshare of consumers. Windows Vista has had a huge role in the amount of people switching to a Mac. With the advertising campaigns for OS X, and the word of mouth about the problems with Windows Vista, some people have thought twice about buying a PC with Windows Vista. Yes, this could be only 10% of Microsoft’s market share, but that is potentially a huge gain for Apple’s market share.

I think that one of the only reasons left in Microsoft’s favour for people staying with Windows is the price of the PC. During these times, people are looking for a cheap deal, but like you say, do not take into account the total cost of ownership. I think that the excuse of people staying with Windows because applications do not work on a Mac is false now. Apple’s own Web site sells Microsoft Office, which is one of the main things people want. Games are also being developed for the Mac, so the market share for Apple should grow in the next few years.

I, myself, am writing this email on a Windows Vista PC. I run Ubuntu in a virtual machine on another machine running Windows 7. I keep Ubuntu on a virtual machine to see when it will be a viable option for mainstream consumers. I’ve considered buying a Mac but, being a student in sixth form in the UK, money is quite scarce. I have an iPhone, and an iPod, and that may be one of the reasons I yearn for a Mac.

But I do think that Microsoft took some flack for driver issues, which may not have been entirely its fault. On several occasions, I’ve had people ask me “Why isn’t my device working in Vista?” and then finishing off with “stupid Vista.” I try to explain to them that Microsoft changed some of the code for drivers, for security reasons, which may have caused older drivers which haven’t been updated to fail. I explain that while it was Microsoft who tried to improve security, the device supplier should have updated the drivers for older devices to make them compatible with Windows Vista. But this is just babble to them, and their minds have fixated on the notion that it’s all Microsoft’s fault.

I am no fanboy of any platform, and try to keep an open find about every situation or dispute, but I think that Microsoft shot itself in the foot with Vista, releasing it too early (for reasons I don’t know). In return, it earned a bad reputation for Microsoft and Windows among consumers and businesses. I’ve had discussions with IT technicians at my local school who have said they will not upgrade to Vista at any cost, but have been trying the beta and release candidate of Windows 7, and have been happy with it so far.

So, do the points you refer to in the video still count, or has Vista been improved on? Do you feel like you would go and use Windows 7 as your main OS at all in the future? Do you think Microsoft is fighting a losing battle with consumers now, trying to gain reputation back for what it lost with Vista?