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How much does credibility matter for Microsoft in Ed Tech?

The New York Times featured a great article this weekend on Microsoft's internal struggles related to the marketing of Vista, as well as a related class-action lawsuit. The piece, "They Criticized Vista.
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The New York Times featured a great article this weekend on Microsoft's internal struggles related to the marketing of Vista, as well as a related class-action lawsuit. The piece, "They Criticized Vista. And They Should Know," highlights several Microsoft executives who are still using XP because of ongoing problems with Windows Vista. Perhaps the most important line in the article, though, referring to the pending lawsuit related to "Vista-capable" machines, inspired the title of this blog entry:

Now that Microsoft faces a certified class action, a judge may be the one who oversees the fix. In the meantime, where does Microsoft go to buy back its lost credibility?

What does Microsoft's credibility mean for Ed Tech buyers? For consumers, it certainly means a bit of wariness, although most folks are happy to walk into a major retailer, buy whatever is on on the shelves, and learn to live with Vista. It is a pretty operating system; that certainly makes my wife feel better, aesthete that she is.

But how about us? When we have parents demanding that kids use "real-world" tools and expecting that that means Microsoft products, has public trust in the company been eroded enough to break the de facto standard in the eyes of parents and administrators? Is Vista just what we needed to finally get people to think outside the Windows box?

As I've demonstrated OS X for a variety of teachers and gotten their thoughts on operating system choices for new computers to be purchased this summer, the single biggest concern has been the use of Vista. Too many have had mediocre, if not downright poor experiences with Vista on new computers that they have purchased for home or for their kids in college. Quite frankly, the majority wish we could just deploy XP computers again. However, when I remind them that Windows XP is 7 years old and explain that there are modern, highly usable alternatives, I usually have them hooked. Not necessarily convinced, but at least interested in talking about OS X. I haven't found anyone aside from students yet who want to talk about Linux, but I haven't written that off for teachers yet, either.

To answer my own question, Microsoft's credibility does matter. Vista, as the ongoing email leaks from Microsoft suggest, hasn't even been that well received at Microsoft; the average teacher wants a new computer to ensure reliable operation and few expect that from Microsoft's latest and greatest. Now if I can just get Apple to come down a bit on their MacBook lease prices...

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