I've been using Vista full time since December of last year on both my primary desktop machine and my laptop. By sheer chance, both systems use video cards made by ATI, a company that was recently bought by AMD.
ATI hasn't made life easy for me. My first attempt to use the latest ATI drivers caused my laptop to go into a crash loop, forcing me to scramble back to the relative safe haven of the Microsoft-supplied default.
That has since been remedied with subsequent ATI updates. Unfortunately, the latest drivers for ATI's Mobility Radeon line, though very functional, have broken the ATI Display control panel and causes weird display-related messages to pop up during system start. According to posts on AMD's support site, however, the company is aware of these problems and is working to fix it.
I've been checking the ATI site regularly to see if an update has been released. That's why I was surprised when the download site for Vista-related Mobility Radeon drivers was changed to this. A choice excerpt:
Currently AMD does not provide any driver support for Mobility Radeon™ products. All driver and technical support for Mobility Radeon™ products is provided by the original laptop or notebook manufacturer. The drivers that are available for download at ati.amd.com are for desktop products only.
Suffice to say, that's a policy change, as until a few weeks ago, such drivers were available.
ATI / AMD has every right to do this. I wonder, however, if AMD executives have really thought this through.
Punting support to laptop manufacturers is fine if the company in question wants to be an anonymous provider of parts and has no interest in a strong brand. It isn't so smart, however, if the company's goal is to create a feature that makes people look for the "ATI Graphics Inside" logo when making laptop purchasing decisions.
HP (the vendor of my laptop) has no official Vista drivers available for my nc6000 laptop, possibly because it's about two years old. That, however, does not mean Vista drivers aren't available, as past experience with ATI has shown. HP just isn't interested in touting Vista support in old laptops, which means I have to go direct to the parts supplier to get satisfaction.
Small companies that make Integrated Circuits may have no interest in providing direct support to end-users. Large companies like ATI / AMD, however, with strong identifiable brands should have such an interest.