Windows Vista (In)capable

Windows Vista (In)capable

Summary: What went wrong? I'll tell you what went wrong: Microsoft execs - starting with Steve Ballmer - don't care enough about their customers.

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What went wrong? I'll tell you what went wrong: Microsoft execs - starting with Steve Ballmer - don't care enough about their customers. Which is too bad for the thousands of smart, hard working 'softies who do.

I went through the Vista Capable lawsuit Exhibit A emails. Lots of warnings that Vista was a train wreck, that its requirements exceeded the market, that the continual changes and slips were killing OEMs and that many peripheral vendors had simply given up trying to stay in sync.

Where was Steve?

Even execs get shafted If you were confused and/or burnt by the "Windows Vista Capable" logo, you have good company. Mike Nash, now Microsoft Corporate VP, Windows Product management, said in an email:

I personally got burned by the Intel 915 chipset issue on a laptop that PERSONALLY (eg with my own $$$). . . . I now have a $2100 email machine."

Board member and former Microsoft President/COO Jon Shirley also had Vista woes:

I upgraded one of the two machines I use a lot to Vista. The most persistent and so far hardest to fix issues are both MSN products, Portfolio in MSN Money and Music (downloads I had bought in the past).

. . . there are no drivers yet for my Epson printer (top of the line and in production today but no driver yet), Epson scanner (older but also top of the line and they say thwy not do a driver for) and a Nikon film scanner that will get a driver one day . . . . I cannot understand with a product this long in creation why there is a such a shortage of drivers. I suppose the vendors did not trust us . . . enough to use the beta for driver testing?

Good question, Jon. Ballmer replied: "You are right that people did not trust us . . . ".

Was it Intel's fault? Intel clearly put pressure on Microsoft to ease the graphics requirements for the "Vista Capable" designation. Intel VP, Software and Solutions Group Renee J. James got a lot of attention from William Poole, a Microsoft VP.

Mr. Poole seems to have been Microsoft's primary contact to Intel's James. Mr. Poole played an key role in strangling Netscape - based on his testimony in the antitrust trial. He knows how to play rough.

Thus John Kalkman's email statement doesn't quite add up:

In the end we lowered the requirement to help Intel make their quarterly earnings so they could continue to sell motherboards with 915 graphics embedded.

If Intel couldn't sell motherboards, could Microsoft sell Windows? Further, Intel's 915 graphics performance wasn't bad. In a November, 2004 ExtremeTech review, the 915 could do 73 fps on Halo and 60 on UT2004 - not bad for integrated graphics 3 years ago.

My reading: Vista's hardware requirements exceeded what most consumers were buying. Microsoft bloatware overshot the market and they had a choice: lower requirements or hose the available market for Vista.

They lowered requirements. The "Intel made us do it" claim is an excuse, not a reason. The emails also show that HP had worked hard to meet the original requirements. If Microsoft cared about consumer requirements they would have supported HP over Intel - even at the cost of initial Vista sales.

Product intro tight rope Product intros are a balancing act. The development team is racing to implement features and fix bugs while marketing is prepping customers and sales. Features are dropped weekly while "show stopper" bugs are keeping everyone in suspense.

Top management has to balance what was promised against what can be delivered. Vista's last minute slips - especially the one that pushed delivery past the holidays - were painful attempts to correct major problems. Ultimately they were too little, too late.

The Storage Bits take The Vista project was entirely on Ballmer's watch and he bungled it. The CEO is where competing priorities get sorted out. It's clear that Ballmer couldn't get his team focused on a great customer experience.

Allchin's development team overestimated consumer PC performance at Vista ship. Ballmer over-promised Wall Street on Vista sales. The continuing slips eroded vendor support.

Marketing split hairs - charging OEMs $8 more for Vista Home Premium! - and created a messaging mess that no one could understand. Let alone tell engineering they were dreaming.

Downgrades to XP are running wild. Microsoft's prestige has taken a huge hit. Millions are looking at, and many are buying, Macs. Low-cost PCs are forcing Vista prices down. The news seems to keep getting worse, not better.

The fish rots from the head, Steve. And you're the head. Time to go and give someone else a shot. The world's largest and most profitable software company can and must do better.

Comments welcome, of course. Update: There's a bug in the new ZDnet stylesheet, so I've gone back and put the direct quotes in italics. Hope it makes the direct quotes clear.

Topics: Intel, Collaboration, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

Robin Harris has been a computer buff for over 35 years and selling and marketing data storage for over 30 years in companies large and small.

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153 comments
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  • On 915 graphics.

    I have a Dell D620 (Not even Vista basic recommended but possible, this via Dell's site) running PCLinuxOS, it flies, including with Beryl turned on.

    There is no reason why I, and others with even more modest video capabilities can run Beryl smoothly, with 100x for Wow than Aero when MS has that many developers.

    Even just playing in stores, desktops with Vista are just not that "snappy". (1-2 second right click delays, the start menu deciding to come up after a second). Things I am just not used to. After 1 second delay in any app on my computer, I am already thinking "what's wrong", what should I kill?

    TripleII

    P.S. The emails are an incredible read, it boggles the mind.
    TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
    • Message has been deleted.

      fatman65535
  • RE: Windows Vista (In)capable

    Microsoft has warned users of its new Windows Home Server that the device could corrupt data when saving files from certain applications. The results could ruin family photos, small-business records or anything else users save on the system. The problem is the latest of three significant quality-control fumbles Microsoft has committed this year.
    Free_Thinker
  • RE: Windows Vista (In)capable

    Microsoft didn't even care or test all their own software programs below to work without data corruption in Windows Home Server! It's NOT just Vista that sucks...

    Microsoft Windows Vista Photo Gallery
    Microsoft Windows Live Photo Gallery
    Microsoft Office OneNote 2007
    Microsoft Office OneNote 2003
    Microsoft Office Outlook 2007
    Microsoft Money 2007
    Microsoft Office Excel
    Microsoft Windows Media Player 11
    Microsoft Zune Software
    Microsoft Virtual PC 2008
    Microsoft Digital Image Library
    Microsoft Project 2000
    Microsoft SyncToy 2.0 Beta
    Free_Thinker
  • Windows Home Server testing uncovers nearly 2,400 bugs

    Of the bugs that have been addressed, Sullivan said that only 15% have actually been fixed. The remainder are issues that are in the server by design (13%), not reproducible (21%), will be postponed to later versions (11%) or likely won't be fixed (7%).


    www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9014183&intsrc=hm_list
    Free_Thinker
  • 9 Billion Dollars Later... More $M

    MICROSOFT HAS had a long, a very long history of litigation, court orders, patent infringements and antitrust lawsuits against it since the very beginning of its history. The surprising thing is not only the number of those lawsuits against Microsoft ? at one time, it had more than 130 pending ? but more importantly, the sheer amount of money it represents. Microsoft Corporation has been ordered to pay nearly $9 billion as of Thursday 14 July 2005.

    Though Microsoft is keen to emphasize the fact that they are not guilty of any wrongdoing in many of the lawsuits, they would prefer to pay rather than anything else. This has lead some observers to speculate that fines has been a way to "oil" the progress of Microsoft.
    Free_Thinker
  • RE: Windows Vista (In)capable

    Even DELL Inspiron 1525 with 2Ghz C2D, 2GB DDR2 RAM Windows Vista Incapable! Why its running slow?
    xTalk
    • (WMLA pending through - Avatar) completion of MTP_Enhanced ; Thank you RE:

      Let's get 'EVEN/Ispirion1525'; I have extra components that may solve some of your issues. I will be glad to listen and respond with resolve for you as one person, feel free to email me using the computer item's name in the subject line <DELL Isperion 1525>: rtirman37@peoplepc.com ::I will return sku through this email connection as beta software components::
      rtirman37@...
  • RE: Windows Vista (In)capable

    I purchased my first new computer in four years (an Acer Aspire 9400 laptop) in Dec. 06 on the strengths of the Window's Vista Capable Sticker I saw on it at the store. Acer sent me a free copy of Vista to upgrade which it did. Since then it is running Vista and is slowwwwwwwwwww. Don't know how to downgrade? (no option for that) Did not even realize there was an Aero interface - it never told me that when I upgraded. I did notice it did not run Moviemaker. The Vista Capable sticker is still here on my laptop as I type this! I feel betrayed. Even disgusted. A computer is an expensive item to purchase. I certainly would have waited if I had known.
    Even if this lawsuit goes through - it won't affect me in the least....unless there is a cash reward. Either way, I guarantee my next machine in going to be an AMD with Unix or an Mac- either way I will be DONE with Microsoft and Intel. I am just disgusted that the little guy is the only one that gets hurt.
    greenforesttree@...
    • If you get a Mac...

      If you get a Mac, you will have Intel...
      brainsmith
      • Sadly, if you have MOST personal computers, you will have Intel

        Aside from some bargain lines which run AMD chipsets, it's ALL pretty much Intel, really.... ::sigh::
        drprodny
  • RE: Windows Vista (In)capable

    For personal use, I think the out of the box experience provided by Fedora rivals that of Vista. ...and I mean for those that don't really care about how it works "under the hood". I've been using Fedora for about 2 years now, and I've been able to resolve my own issues thanks to the community of users posting questions and solutions on the internet. ...And (shhh, don't let MS here about this) it's free:)
    rinofarina@...
  • Lessons Learned

    I am primarily a Linux user. Specifically openSUSE 10.3. What surprises me is that the 'Vista Capable' / Intel debacle brought down Vista to the extent it did.

    openSUSE 10.3 runs 'merily' on a seven-year old Pentium M 1.7GHz machine with 512MB and an ATI Radeo LY 64MB graphics coprocressor. It has no problem rendering Compiz XGL,Beryl, 3D openGL.

    I am more inclined to think Vista SP1 is a wholesale redesign in that it is shared with Windows Server 2008 the same kernel.

    If I could offer advice to anyone interested in considering a replacement for Windows XP, it would be to skip Vista and configure Windows Server 2008 (using roles management) as a Desktop PC.

    Avoid Vista 'like the plague'.

    [url=http://port25.technet.com/archive/2008/02/27/opening-windows-server-2008.aspx]How open source has influenced Windows 2008[/url]
    D T Schmitz
    • How many ideas were stolen from OSS, ...?

      It seems for people it's hard to believe that Microsoft guys unable to design something useful for the people on their own. They can invent only police tools like DRM, poor standards, making incompatible with competition, etc.

      But if Microsoft is doing something useful for people - it always was stolen or in the best scenario - bought.

      Why so?

      First step to the right answer - answer to the question - why wolves do not help the sheep? Cause' wolves just cannot overcome their nature (they cannot control instincts - instincts control them).

      Second step - can crooks help the people by their own will or their nature does not let them ... also?

      Third step - is Microsoft by/of/for the crooks?

      If anyone has doubts about it - try to explain why Microsoft is not an evil, but a good company? Why? Try to answer and you'll see why...

      P.S. Did you notice that MS Office and Apple's iWork equally compatible with each other and not compatible with OpenOffice? This is just another proof that Apple is a non-official part of Microsoft. More about friendship between Jobs and Gates:

      Jobs: "We?ve kept our marriage secret for over a decade". Guess what is the reason
      http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=5214

      Steve Jobs: ?Windows is going to be dominant for at least the next 10 years." I said something like, "Is it going to be the rest of our lives?" He said, "Depends on how long you live."
      http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9584-5531859.html

      So one day someone may name the article about it - "Monopoly takes the next spin..."

      By the way - if you decided that crooks are unable to help the people - please decide too - should people financially support crooks by buying their products or people need to look for the alternatives as soon as they can?
      Just_true
      • It's more than that

        [i]By the way - if you decided that crooks are unable to help the people - please decide too - should people financially support crooks by buying their products or people need to look for the alternatives as soon as they can?[i/]

        You're absolutely correct, we have this "Duopoly" within the desktop computer industry and neither would like to change the status quo. But why do people still purchase these products when there is overwhelming evidence of past and present impropriety if not illegal behavior?

        Resistance to change, some type of battered person syndrome perhaps, or maybe it's learned helplessness:

        [i]"Learned helplessness is a psychological condition in which a human being or an animal has learned to believe that it is helpless in a particular situation. It has come to believe that it has no control over its situation and that whatever it does is futile. As a result, the human being or the animal will stay passive in the face of an unpleasant, harmful or damaging situation, even when it does actually have the power to change its circumstances."[i/]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness

        Does this description sound like many of the "Duopoly" computer users we encounter every day?
        MisterMiester
        • Behind of the Behind?

          [i]"Learned helplessness is a psychological condition in which a human being or an animal has learned to believe that it is helpless in a particular situation. It has come to believe that it has no control over its situation and that whatever it does is futile. As a result, the human being or the animal will stay passive in the face of an unpleasant, harmful or damaging situation, even when it does actually have the power to change its circumstances."

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness

          Does this description sound like many of the "Duopoly" computer users we encounter every day?[/i]

          There are some scientific studies that determine two types of humans and animals: one - is what you quoted, and another one who is looking for a solution in any situation/dead end. Being in the same physical condition/parametres and in the same bad situation, e.g. a disease, the last one may survive, the first one - dies.

          Who makes people helpless? Read the below quotes:

          "And it seems to me perfectly in the cards that there will be within the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing ? a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda, brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods."
          --Aldous Huxley, On psychological totalitarianism [2] (1959)

          We need a program of psychosurgery for political control of our society. The purpose is physical control of the mind. Everyone who deviates from the given norm can be surgically mutilated.
          --Dr. Jose Delgado, 1974 Congressional Testimony

          "To repress rebellion is to maintain the status quo, a condition which binds the mortal creature in a state of intellectual or physical slavery. But it is impossible to chain man merely by slaving his body: the mind must also be held, and to accomplish this, fear is the accepted weapon. The common man must fear life, fear death, fear God, fear the Devil, and fear most the overlords, the keepers of his destiny."
          --Manly P. Hall (an occultist and 33rd degree mason)

          I guess now people may have an idea who has enough money to finance it... and who it the ONE.
          Just_true
          • Absolutely correct!

            When the time comes for everyone to accept "the Mark Of the Beast", it will not be forced on them. They will want it badly, and accept it gladly. Who would refuse to allow a teeny weeny harmless painless chip implant in order to get their computer, so they can procure their needs and wants? Especially when the alternative will be persecution, prosecution, starvation, and imprisonment.

            Already they have every square inch of the earth mapped, and are patrolling it now. The only avoidance will be underground. Prepare to be shocked and awed. You have already been "Wow'd"
            Ole Man
  • RE: Windows Vista (In)capable

    In Feb. 2007, I bought a Toshiba Satellite A135-S2276. It originally came with only 512MB of RAM and had Vista Home Basic pre-installed. Everything ran excruciatingly slow--e.g., new Explorer windows took 20 seconds just to open. Microsoft Office was almost unusable. Just as a comparison, I tried running OpenSuSE 10.1 Live distribution of Linux from the DVD (i.e., no hard disk install). The performance for OpenSuSE was better than for Vista Home Basic even though it was running from the DVD. Eventually, I increased the RAM to 1.5GB where it now runs at an acceptable speed with Vista Home Basic. One of these days, I'm going to build her laptop so that it dual boots with some Linux distro (perhaps Ubuntu) and teach her how to use Linux.
    -kevin
    kevin.wall@...
    • RE: Windows Vista (In)capable

      Kevin, I bought a "Vista-Ready" PC w/2 GB RAM and an AMD 64 x2 Dual Core Processor 5200+ - and Vista crawled on it! I put up w/Vista for six months before finally backgrading to XP....
      drprodny
  • RE: Windows Vista (In)capable

    If one read's Computer Science Professor Peter guttman's take on Vista this OS was not created for the home or business sector, it was created at the behest of Hollywood, MPAA, RIAA to protect their sc-called 'premium content', such as blu-ray DVD movies, music, games etc. Vista has the DRM infection baked so deep inside that it queries the OS every 30 seconds to insure that the user is not doing anything ilegal. This is the first OS that assumes everyone is a criminal out of the box. Running Vista is like wearing an ankle bracelet. Microsoft and Hollywood call it 'trusted computing'. I call it pain. Slow, painful torture, which is why I upgraded my Dual Xeon single core 3.8 GHz PC, 4 gigs of DDR2 RAM back to XP pro. And boy does it fly! The WOW definately returned with XP. No more freezes, slow programs. Plus, Vista could not run all my programs. It is clear that the consumer home/business sector matters little to Microsoft. They only care about their business parteners in Hollywood. See, if their DRM software flys they could have a 'monopoly' on that and write their own ticket in hollywood. Cool huh? Traditionally PCs have been open source, meaning everyone could contribute. DRM turns your PC into an expensive Jukebox dictated by software and hardware that is defective by design. Not for me thank you.
    claymann39@...