After the Vista fiasco, Microsoft owes its long-suffering customers more than a "screaming deal." They're owed an apology from Steve Ballmer - and a free copy of
Vista SP3 Windows 7.
The backstory Vista's market failure was not a surprise inside Microsoft. Senior development execs - people who'd actually cut code on large enterprise-quality projects - knew that the project's many slips, redefinitions and feature cuts were symptoms of a far deeper problem.
The out-of-control development wasn't just a problem inside Microsoft: it burnt thousands of outside developers too. Many finally gave up on the ever-changing Vista betas to wait for the final shipping product - leading to the application and driver issues that burnt so many users - including Microsoft director and former President Jon Shirley.
Let the grown-ups drive Windows 7 is coming out so quickly and to such great reviews not because Microsoft hired people who could code - but because they re-architected their development process. While that is a Good Thing it also points to why Windows 7 should be free: Vista was flawed from the beginning.
What about XP? XP users should pay for Windows 7 because it is a new OS for them. But Vista users - especially people who bought "Vista Capable" machines or retail copies - are owed much more.
The Storage Bits take Really, is giving people 50% off on the product you should have shipped in the first place a "screaming deal?" I don't think so.
The Vista train wreck - years in the making - is a long term blot on Microsoft's reputation. Doing the right thing for customers today will pay dividends tomorrow.
And the Ballmer apology? He's the CEO and the entire fiasco took place on his watch. The buck stops there and he should own up to it.
Comments welcome, of course.