Dwight Silverman asks an interesting question - Does Vista suck, or is this just a perception?
Depending on who you talk to, Microsoft's Vista problem has its root in one of two versions of reality:
1. The operating system really does suck.
2. The perception is that the operating system really does suck.
It seems that everyone has an opinion about Vista, from people who have used it extensively since the earliest betas to those who've seen a friend use it, but most will agree on one point - that Vista has a problem. Either the operating system itself is flawed or the way that people view the operating system is flawed.
My take on the situation is that there are a huge number of people out there who don't care either way about Vista. Maybe they use it and have had no problems with it, or maybe they use another operating system (an earlier version of Windows, Mac OS, or Linux). But at the fringes of these people who don't care either way are factions that have very strong views. People who run Vista and are overjoyed by it, people who've had a lot of problems, people with a vested interested in promoting the platform, people with an interest in promoting other platforms. Broadly speaking these groups break down into people who feel passionately positive about Vista, and those that feel the opposite.
This issue of how Vista is perceived should really only be an issue to Microsoft, after all, it's got the most to gain or lose from how the operating system (I'm not even going to say "new operating system" any more) is seen by businesses and consumers. I guess OEMs are also a little bit interested in how the buyers see Vista, but while they have the choice of selling both Vista and XP, they're not all that bothered.
Then there are people like myself, Ed Bott, Mary Jo Foley, Dwight Silverman, Chris Pirillo and a whole host of other pundits. I guess we form part of the influencers group. What we add to the collective pool influences, in a small way, whether other people by Vista or not. Personally, I don't care whether you, Constant Reader, run Vista or not (I'd rather you do research and come to your own conclusions - and I'm happy to provide some food for thought). On this blog I've been very candid about my feelings about the OS - I run the OS, it's getting better, but integrating it into an existing hardware or software ecosystem can bring pain, and for gaming XP is still better. Do I think that Vista sucks more than previous versions of Windows? Yes. Do I think Microsoft overpromise and under-deliver? Yes. Does anyone really need Vista? Some people do, but most could chug along with XP for now. Will SP1 change how the hardcore anti-Vista faction feels? Doubtful.
My take on the situation is that the factions will continue fighting until the whole issue becomes a moot point and then move on to something else. If Microsoft is hoping that some marketing and SP1 is going to make all the bad press disappear, then it's going to be disappointed.