Microsoft COO downplays Vista update problems

The software giant's chief operating officer says he is pleased with SP1's progress, despite it breaking some third-party programs.

Microsoft's chief operating officer has dismissed concerns that an update to its flagship Windows Vista operating system is incompatible with a number of applications.

Speaking at the CeBit trade show in Hannover, Germany, on Tuesday, Microsoft's third-in-command, Kevin Turner, told ZDNet Asia's sister site ZDNet UK that the software giant is not concerned by the problems that Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) has encountered with some third-party programs.

"No, (we're) not at all worried," Turner told ZDNet UK. "We've had several million downloads of SP1. We're very excited about it. It still hasn't been officially released, but we're excited about it."

Vista SP1 is already available to subscribers to the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) but will not receive a formal public release until mid-March. Two weeks ago, Microsoft published a list of programs that would experience reduced functionality, or not work at all, after the installation of SP1. Microsoft customers have also been complaining that the update has upset the functionality on their machines.

The programs SP1 has been breaking are mostly from security vendors, including Trend Micro. Eugene Kaspersky, co-founder and head analyst of Kaspersky Lab, told ZDNet UK that while the security company has not yet itself encountered any difficulties with SP1, Microsoft could lose customers if it does not sort the reported problems out.

"With Microsoft Vista, there are problems with usability; Microsoft has had complaints, as its system slows down machines," Kaspersky said. "Microsoft should pay more attention to the usability of its systems. If they don't do that, they won't be in so good a position against Mac OS X and Linux."

Kaspersky said SP1 difficulties may have a negative effect on people's opinion of Vista, and that the negative effect may impact Vista sales.

"They probably made a mistake--the same mistake they made in 1991," said Kaspersky. "In 1991, they released MS-DOS version 4.0, and it was not so light as version 3.0--it took up more resources, which meant less memory for user apps. (When) Microsoft released version 5.0, it was as light as 3.0 and fixed the problem."

This article was first published as a blog on CNET

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