Did 'reporters' sink Vista?

Windows blogger Long Zheng posted via Twitter that he's 'sick of tech "reporters" labeling Vista a "train wreak"' and that they 'derailed a perfectly good OS.' Did 'reporters' sink Vista?

Windows blogger Long Zheng posted via Twitter that he's 'sick of tech "reporters" labeling Vista a "train wreak"' and that they 'derailed a perfectly good OS.' Did 'reporters' sink Vista?

To answer this question we have to look at the issue from two angles:

  • Was Vista covered in a negative way by the tech media?
  • Was Vista a 'perfectly good OS' or not?

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Having both read and written a LOT about Vista, my belief is that coverage of the OS has, overall, been fair and balanced. Sure, there's been extremes in coverage, but this is perfectly normal and to be expected. People (and tech pundits are, after all, people) will always have, good or bad, a differing and unique perspective on an OS. Users too (outside of raving 'moon howlers') have been fair and balanced in how they've covered the OS on blogs and forums.

Note: I'm going to ignore all the bogus rubbish written about things such as DRM in Vista too ...

Something worth noting about coverage is that people are far more likely to tell other people about negative experiences than they are positive experiences. The old adage that people will tell ten others of bad service while only one if the service was good holds true in the tech industry too. And why not. After all, if people have paid good money for a product, why shouldn't they gripe when things go wrong? Doubly so when they are griping about a product created by a multi-billion dollar corporation!

A better question to ask is whether Vista was a  good OS or not? But to answer this one properly you have to realize one important factor - Vista today is a very different animal to Vista back in November of 2006 when it was released. We're now at a point where the OS has been shored up by two service packs and a number of performance and reliability updates, not to mention countless patches and bug fixes.

In my experience Vista when it initially hit PCs was plagued by performance, reliability and compatability issues and was, without a doubt, a worse OS than XP was. Vista was, in my opinion at any rate, a bad OS and would have benefited from being delayed by a few months. This delay would have given Microsoft a chance to work on performance, reliability and compatability issues and given hardware vendors more time to come up with better drivers. After all, driver maturity has played a big part in making Vista a better OS over time.

Bottom line, if you came to Vista when it was RTMed back in 2006 then you'd have every reason to complain. However, for people getting onto Vista now, the OS is as good as, if not better, then XP ever was.

So, did reporters sink Vista? Are tech pundits responsible for derailing a perfectly good OS? In my opinion, no. Vista stumbled off the starting blocks and never really recovered. Early adopters lost faith in the OS and Microsoft never really managed to lift the OS out of the tar pit it was caught up in. After a while even Microsoft gave up trying to change how people thought about Vista and concentrated its efforts on Windows 7. Windows 7 didn't represent Microsoft going back to a clean slate, but it was as clean a slate as the company could manage. And so far, looking at the response to the new OS, Microsoft's gamble will probably pay off.