Six different Vistas, same old view

Six different Vistas, same old view

Summary: Microsoft's new operating system is great ... as a public relations platform for the software giant.


As we slowly creep closer to the launch of Windows Vista, it seems that the six different versions of Microsoft's new operating system are for the benefit of the company's PR machine rather than its customers.

Why would Redmond go to all the trouble of creating six separate versions of Windows Vista for six different markets and then not bother to properly tailor them?

This is Microsoft's Vista lineup (Please note that I have made up the descriptions of each version -- for the official line look here):

  • Vista Starter edition: Designed for emerging markets -- functionality is throttled and is only available preloaded on computers in so-called developing countries.
  • Vista Home Basic: Same as the starter edition but for use in rich countries. However, targeted at people with old PCs.
  • Vista Home Premium: This version is for your average home user with a very powerful PC.
  • Vista Business: Standard edition for businesses.
  • Vista Enterprise edition: Same as above but for companies with a volume licensing deal.
  • Vista Ultimate edition: For consumers or companies with more money than sense.

I am wondering why, with so many different types of users, Microsoft has chosen to use exactly the same firewall configuration in each version?

That is a question Microsoft is as yet unwilling -- or unable -- to answer.

After numerous e-mail exchanges with Microsoft's press office in Sydney -- who after every query had to wait overnight for an answer from Redmond -- I was told Microsoft is "responding to requests" from its customers.

So. Microsoft's enterprise and government customers say "give us a firewall with only incoming protection turned on" and Microsoft says "ok".

Wow. That is pretty good service.


What about the hundreds of millions of home users?

When announcing the different flavours of Vista, a director in Microsoft's Windows client unit Barry Goffe said: "We're really trying to make sure we have the right set of offerings for different customers".

I put this to Microsoft and -- after the usual delays -- they responded with: "Microsoft doesn't have anything further to add to your story on the Windows Vista Firewall but as we get closer to Vista's launch we will make sure to keep you informed on security-related announcements around the OS".

Earlier this year, Jim Allchin, the ex-co-president of Microsoft's platform, products and services division, said one of the most compelling reasons for moving to Vista was enhanced security: "Safety and security is the overriding feature that most people will want to have Windows Vista for... Even if they are not into home entertainment or in any of the specialty areas, they are just going to feel safer and more secure by using it."

I think the killer line here is: "they are just going to feel safer and more secure by using it."

They [Microsoft's customers] are not necessarily going to be any safer. But that doesn't matter because they will already have spent their money.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Security

Munir Kotadia

About Munir Kotadia

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.

Munir was recognised as Australia's Best Technology Columnist at the 5th Annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards 2007. In the previous year he was named Best News Journalist at the Consensus IT Writers Awards.

He no longer uses his Commodore 64.

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  • Huh?

    What the heck are you talking about? First, you're ranting on the 6 versions. OK. Not exactly news. Now, you bolt off into a rant on..... something. Something obviously horrible and noxious - in that you're unable to even remotely communicate what it is.

    What are you blathering about?
  • I hate being segmented

    I just want One single Windows Vista CD with the lot, from which I can decide what I need, or otherwise. I really hate being segmented by the Microsoft marketing machine like this. It
  • boring...

    Author is really just beating around the bush with a small information he has of six version of Vista.. Boooooorrrring.. Get another bloke...
  • grab bag of statements

    so what is the point here?

    the personal firewall market is not as advanced or has as many runs on the board as the automative industry who tune (read de-tune) their vechicles to suit the mass market.

    desktop os is a bit harder, so give them a break and get on with telling us something useful...
  • You have to be kidding me.

    "Unfortunately, I don't have a PhD, and don
  • Why am I not suprised?

    Once again, Microsoft makes false promises. I can't say I'm that suprised, I saw Vista at CES and I was not that impressed, it just looked like a new flavor of XP to me. Microsoft is excellent at marketing, but their products just aren't up to par.

    What surprises me most is that people are willing to put up with it and somehow end up thinking that Microsoft is a really great company. I switched to a Mac about 2 years ago and now I know, Microsoft is not all I thought it was, and OS X makes XP look like a joke.
  • Nerds go home

    Wow, you Linux bigots really don't do yourselves any favours, do you? Explain to me again why it's better for someone who just wants to play a game or write a document that they have to compile their own device drivers . . . What a repulsive bunch of arrogant, nerdy little c-words.
  • You've proved my point

    Thank you for your useful and informative reply. Actually, I gave Red Hat Linux quite a go last year, really tried to like it, but I guess I
  • This merely shows up your own shortcomings...

    "Well, I did try a manual last year, I really did..but I just can't get that whole clutch-gearshift thing so I went back to an auto"

    All that means is you can't drive.

    Won't Touring Car racing be fun next season when they're all in Volvo automatic station wagons ?

    Seriously, if you can't use a desktop that easier, friendlier and better looking than the current Microsoft offerings..well, you really do need to ask yourself if it's the system or you that's doing something wrong.

    Fedora sucks anyway, try Ubuntu or Suse.

    Thanks for coming.... next!
  • You are ignorant...

    No-one "compiles their own drivers " for any of those functions.

    You're either totally ignorant or a shill, either way you need an education.

    I personally get sick of the way you have to build your own PCI card and write your own drivers just to fire up Notepad in Windows XP..happens ALL the time..every day!

    How does anybody ever get any work done? Costs a fortune in PCB etch and solder too!
  • Are you forgetting something

    Well, Mr 'Anonymous', it
  • Geez... who's the arrogant one!

    You like deterring everyone away from Linux don't you. The last 3 anonymous replies which I can only assume you wrote with the underlying attitude being the same were the most disgusting peices of trash I have ever read.

    The linux community isn't arrogant, and it's people like YOU who deter people from it. For christ sakes, I use Linux (SuSE) in a Server environment, and it works perfectly as one. However, to try and get ATI drivers installed is one arduous task! It's not easy to use - and the point and click reply you gave is the worst thing I have ever read in the Linux world.

    If you actually do use Linux (and I can only assume you use a KDE or Gnome desktop - leaning towards Gnome), you would understand that loading up the Konsole is a very regular occurance!!! It's not as simple as point and click like Windows and you know it!

    It wouldn't suprise me if you were a teenage Linux supporter who has no idea on what the general public struggles with. In the corporate world, I have way too many people in the organisation ask for help with tiny trivial problems with the Windows operating system - most of which are relating to errors that come up that most computer savvy people would just click OK to.

    A problem I can forsee is that if we switch to linux, and a user accidently presses a button on boot to bring up the Verbose mode, what are they going to say when in BOLD RED letters, the word [FAILED] appears! Even better yet, what will they do when an error comes up on the screen? Not to mention the training costs!

    To be honest, I don't even know why I am replying here - you are nothing more than a childish brat who believes that he knows all! How very wrong you are. Go and work at an organisation in help desk for one day. It's not quite sit infront of a computer all day ;)
  • Rubbish.

    What "hurdles" ?

    I'm sorry, it's just that comments like that annoy me as they're so far out of whack with reality that they can only come from the terminally stupid or from someone with an agenda, ie: MS shill.

    I suppose you'd find a comment such as "I don't have a PhD in Mechanical and Electronic Engineering so buying a Ford is out of the question for me, as you have to know how to build an Engine Managenemt system from first principles to be able to drive one of those" ok then?

    Exactly the same thing.

    No-one compiles drivers or kernels of messess with Glibc or anything like that these days, haven't for years.

    it's all point-n-click... if you want it to be. if you want to fiddle then you can but it's NOT necessary.

    Thank you, come again!
  •'re a helpdesk pleb.

    How is helpdesk these days ?

    You're right about me not having had the pleasure of hell-desk work...

    That's for the $6/hr MCP plebs.

    Now you go back to making sure that printer on floor 2 near the water cooler isn't jamming again and I'll take care of the big issues.

    I'll holler if I need you, someone has to change the toner, after all.

    Just remember, you're at the top of my "Downsize" list, plenty of $3/hr guys in Mumbai who I can replace you with.

    Off you go then.
  • Agree totally

    Vista = XP SP3
  • Nerds GO HOME

    Yes, of course, no one would ever say anything bad about Linux unless Microsoft paid them to say it. You're the ignorant one, whiny anonymous Linux b*tch. And while you're at it, learn some respect for people who are more intelligent and capable than you will ever be, you pathetic worm.
  • You missed the point entirely

    Mate, I was merely saying that people struggle with a user friendly Windows Operating System. You can't seriously expect people who use computers to get by to operate Linux effectively in just one sitting. It takes time and resources to educate these people.

    To your reply about my helpdesk position, when did I ever say I was part of a help desk team. I stated Help Desk to you as you would be familiar with the somewhat 'stupid' trivial problems you get. FYI, my position is not a help desk personel, I am a Network Engineer at a small organisation and unfortuantely with a lack of staff, my job involves both Technical Support (Help Desk) and maintaining the entire network.

    There is a reason why we use Windows over Linux as our desktop environment, and that is because Windows gives us less hassles, the organisations staff are trained to use Microsoft Windows and other Microsoft Windows compatible programs. If anyone has problems, it can be fixed easily with minimal time lost in implementing faster and better services.

    Unfortunately with Linux, if for some reason the X server decides to die in a Linux environment (which happens quite often when the user presses CTRL+ALT+BACKSPACE or CTRL+ALT+F5), the user is presented with a DOS like console. What happens when an error comes up locking the user out of his or her system?

    The truth is, Linux is still not ready for the desktop world. Usability quirks still need to be sorted out. With ATI drivers, you need to in many cases recompile the kernel. Even better is Wireless Networking. Using NDIS wrappers are just as fun as drawing taps for a living. Not to mention the retraining costs and compatibility issues with current organisation templates.

    With you Mr. Smarty Pants in your high senior level, I'm suprised you bypassed these fundamentals in deciding whether Linux is a viable alternative. Surely you deal with people in your organisation who can't operate a computer for shit (to say the least) - and it's not because they are dumb, it's generally because they have no interest to learn a complete new operating system unless their work requires it. Even then, it could take years to master a new Operating System.