Ballmer: Microsoft never recovered from Vista blow

Ballmer: Microsoft never recovered from Vista blow

Summary: As Microsoft prepares for the release of Windows 7, CEO Steve Ballmer admits that the company's reputation has never recovered from the launch of Vista.

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As Microsoft prepares for the release of Windows 7, CEO Steve Ballmer admits that the company's reputation has never recovered from the launch of Vista.

This from the Telegraph:

Mr Ballmer said: "We got some uneven reception when [Vista] first launched in large part because we made some design decisions to improve security at the expense of compatibility. I don't think from a word-of-mouth perspective we ever recovered from that."

There you have it. Confirmation of what most of us knew already ... that the Vista name was mud.

Turning bad news into good though, Ballmer now believes that there's "pent up demand" for new gear:

"I'd be hopeful that we see a bit more rapid pick-up - particularly people who are upgrading the software without touching the hardware - than maybe we have in years past."

This is the rub. The people that Windows 7 really needs to appeal to are those millions of entrenched XP users who don't see a reason to switch OSes. These people are going to be much harder to convince to switch than people who've already made the switch to Vista.

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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291 comments
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  • Word of Mouth...

    ... trumps design and usability. Seems that once the drumming starts in the ABM crowd, there is little to do about the avalanche of "me too-ism."

    Vista is a fine operating system done in by third party vendors who refused to update their drivers to work with Vista's security model until the groundswell against Vista had built to a crushing force.

    Written on my Vista Ultimate machine that "just works" and always has. Like many other Vista machines that "just work" - much to the consternation of those who would try to keep pounding the nails into Vista's supposed coffin.
    Confused by religion
    • Word of mouth.....

      COMES from design and usability. People talked about their experiences with Vista. I still find Vista a bit of a pain in the a$$ and prefer XP.

      MS could easily recover by offering all Vista sufferers a free upgrade to W7. Then they could stop supporting Vista all together and make up for the lost Vista revenue that way. Such a move would bring more goodwill than any advertising campaign ever could.

      Economister
      • How so?

        [i]I still find Vista a bit of a pain in the a$$ and prefer XP.[/i]

        Specifics please.
        ye
        • Wireless for one...

          I find the wireless in Vista to be slow to connect, often disconnect,
          sometimes wont' re-establish after sleep, and requires an almost
          "guessing" game to remember where the settings are...even for an
          experienced Windows guy/gal.

          I also find the copying times in Vista to be spotty. I own an XP and
          Mac computer...both of which copy files faster than Vista.

          There were a million computers out there with SigmaTel hardware
          during the launch...apparently Microsoft forgot to test Vista on 10% of
          the hardware out there before launch. Even SP1 was affected. I
          know...I was one of the ones with the SigmaTel problem.

          I think with SP2, Microsoft finally got Vista under reasonable control,
          but really...looking back on the situation, if I had known now what I
          was getting myself in for I would have skipped Vista entirely. The only
          benefit I have is the built-in scanner app for my HP scanner. Other
          than that, XP was leaner and performed all my tasks.
          lawryll9
          • I've never had a problem with wireless on Vista.

            Nor has anyone I've known. I suspect it's something unique to your setup.

            [i]There were a million computers out there with SigmaTel hardware during the launch...apparently Microsoft forgot to test Vista on 10% of the hardware out there before launch. Even SP1 was affected. I know...I was one of the ones with the SigmaTel problem.[/i]

            They can't test everything. Furthermore the problem isn't really a problem with Vista but rather one with an incompatible piece of hardware. Use properly supported hardware and Vista is just fine.

            I might give you the file copy but that's iffy.


            ye
          • Wireless does work...

            ...but it is definately sluggish and iffy sometimes. Compared with both my XP and OSX SL, it's no contest...it's obviously slower.

            I am running a Intel M w/ 2 GB on Vista32w/sp2, so perhaps the dual core is making things slower?

            As far as the SigmaTel...wow. That was big, big news all over the WindowsVistaBlog and other sites. Tens of Thousands of SP1 upgrade errors were due to that piece of common hardware. To say that MS can't test everything I understand, but when you are dealing with a piece of hardware as prevalent as the SoundBlaster, you expect things to work...especially a SP. This is akin to saying that NVIDIA cards have a problem with Vista...that's just not right for an OS launch.

            In any case, the only benefit I can find for what I do in Vista is the extended scanner/camera support. Other than that, XP runs everything just as fast, if not faster. There is really no compelling reason why Vista is "better" at anything for the average joe. In contrast, it's revamped control panel and other settings make it one of the most difficult OS's I've used in a long time. It's like how I felt upgrading from 3.11 to 95, but I'm not seeing the benefits. Sure, it's more secure...but I wasn't having security problems on XP...certainly not on OSX either.

            I just don't understand what Vista "fixed". XP's model seems great to me...even in hindsight.
            lawryll9
          • We're in agreement here.

            [i]There is really no compelling reason why Vista is "better" at anything for the average joe.[/i]

            I have several friends who have XP based systems. I have not recommended they upgrade to Vista. Nor will I recommend they upgrade to Windows 7. XP works for them and there's no reason to spend the money.

            With that said I will also not recommend anyone buying a new system avoid Vista (without a specific reason) or Windows 7. For those who have Vista I will not recommend they move to Windows 7.

            Operating systems have reached a plateau where they're really not offering much over previous versions. They offer incremental changes which some people find worthwhile while others do not. The need to upgrade died with Windows XP and OS X 10.2. Without a specific reason stay with what you've got and what works. But don't avoid the new when it comes time to replace your system.
            ye
          • Bit of a stretch there

            Unless he is the only one in the world to have that wireless setup then he is probably not the only one to have that problem - and SigmaTel hardware is not that uncommon that Vista should have skipped testing it.
            rhomp20029
          • No, not a stretch at all.

            [i]Unless he is the only one in the world to have that wireless setup then he is probably not the only one to have that problem[/i]

            Then how come I, and everyone I know, has no problems with wireless under Vista? If it were a problem with Vista then we would have to have a problem.

            [i]SigmaTel hardware is not that uncommon that Vista should have skipped testing it.[/i]

            It may not be uncommon but I have to repeat what I said: Microsoft can't address everything.
            ye
          • Ballmer: Microsoft never escaped their own bullsiht

            So when the rest of the world grew up a little bit and became more IT savvy they realised what a complete and utter waste even 100% focus of the financial markets could actually achieve.
            fr0thy2
          • No, not a stretch at all.

            [i]It may not be uncommon but I have to repeat what I said: Microsoft can't address everything.[/i]

            Then quit making excuses for them.
            Wintel BSOD
          • ye, I do have to comment on vista, and the wireless.

            My wife's Sony Viao notebook, with vista Sp1 is horrible with wireless.
            It often forgets to connect, and if you let it go to sleep, then you have
            to manually connect. It also has problems with a networked printer. I
            have had to manually reinstall the printer about once every two weeks.
            My brother-in law's Dell laptop has similar wireless problems. Not they
            are on two different wireless routers, so it is not the routers. They are
            both large OEM machines, so the hardware should work. Out of the
            four computers (2 Macs and 2 windows machines) the only one that is
            having problems is the one with vista on it. An old dual 800 Mhz G4
            (running Leopard), An old Dell desktop (running xp sp2), and a
            Macbook Pro (running Snow Leopard) do not have these problems. So
            in my opinion, it is in fact vista that is the problem.
            Rick_K
          • I've known numerous people with that same problem

            The least of which is having to go down in the service tray and right mouse clicking the network icon in order to repair the connection all the time.

            Of course it's never Windoze fault, even though this problem doesn't exist with XP on the same machine.

            Wintel BSOD
          • @ye

            And if we were to believe you. Vista worked so perfectly for you, it even gets you coffee and donuts.

            I for one had major problems with wireless and Vista on multiple laptops.
            Axsimulate
          • Ye, The Great Microsoft Apologist. (NT)

            (NT)
            Intellihence
        • Specifics

          From first hand experience that didn't lasted long (went back) and observation of people that use it as the main OS I can tell you:

          Slow and bloated compared to XP on the same hardware. And specially after comparing to Windows 7 on the same hardware. That on top of the "hidden" settings (Or very difficult to find) and the fact that some software requests confirmation every time it is launched.

          Your experience may be different and that's good.
          rarsa
          • More of the same FUD. nt

            .
            ye
          • FUD? Do you know what the acronym means

            How is that FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) when I'm saying that Windows 7 is way better? Ask Microsoft, they will confirm this. Are they spreading FUD too?

            You are beating a dead horse. Install Windows 7 (if you haven't) and then give me your opinion.
            rarsa
          • I agree with Rarsa because...

            Rarsa may be pro-FOSS, but he's one of the most balanced people on zdnet.

            I saw no FUD in his post. I enjoyed Vista on my Dell Vostro 1500 though it had it's quirks. But I have to say that Win 7 is immaculate. It's faster, smoother and just... better.

            Now, granted, it should be obvious that an OS created almost a decade ago should run faster on the same hardware than one made 5 years ago. But for 7 to be faster and smoother than both. That's the kicker.

            I have yet to test it against Windows 2000 though ;-).
            PlayFair
          • I've already installed Windows 7.

            I've been using the beta and RC since they were released. I've run the RTM for a couple of weeks. It's nice. And when I buy a new computer I'll be sure to get Windows 7 with it.

            With that said my RTM version of Windows 7 Ultimate sits on my desk...unused. The only reason I am considering upgrading to it is because it is 64-bit while my Vista install is 32-bit. Since the computer has 8GB of memory installed I'd be making the move because I want access to the additional memory (but I don't need it). But my media card reader isn't supported under 64-bit (Vista or Windows 7) so I'm trying to decide if it's even worth it.

            I've used Windows 7 extensively. I really like it. With that said I don't see a compelling reason to move to it.
            ye