Vista is web 1.0!
Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows Vista, is most likely a great product, built by smart guys, bringing significant UI (Aero) and « inside the box » improvements. To find out more, I spoke to Stuart Mudie, a Paris-based writer and editor and co-author along with Derek Torres of The Unofficial Guide to Windows Vista (Wiley, 2007). Read his interview below : Stuart brings great insights. So why am i saying that Vista a Web 1.0 product? Mostly because the way it is brought to market has nothing to do with Web 2.0. If you are not a Mac user, do you really believe that you have a choice as far as using or not using the product? As an individual, it is just a matter of months before i use Vista, most probably when i will get a new computer. As a CEO, i know that all machines that my IT team will acquire will carry Vista. In France, 7 to 8 million machines will be shipped with Vista within the next twelve months.
According to GFK, 55% of the PCs can embark Vista and Aero can work efficiently on only 1/3 of them. If Vista becomes a hit, it may contribute to the renewal of the computer parc. So do you think that Vista will be challenged by the computer manufacturers?
Another reason why it is not web 2.0 is the size of the budgets spent in marketing : 500 million $ globally, including 1.5 million € for the French party launch. Doesn’t that sound like marketing 1.0? I met Christophe Guillemin, journalist for ZDNet.fr. He specializes in telecom, IT and audio/video (TVHD, games, software). Christophe gives us a recap of the key marketing figures and potential revenus for Microsoft.
Interview with Stuart Mudie
Stuart, Is Vista just a pale imitation of Mac OSX that will be left in the starting blocks by Leopard? Or, with more than five years having passed since the launch of Windows XP in October 2001, has Vista really been worth the wait? In a few words, what is Vista?
When I first saw Vista back in March last year, my initial impression was that it takes a lot of good features from other companies’ products and bundles them together for the benefit of people who are not necessarily power-users. Internet Explorer 7 has tabbed browsing like Firefox, for instance; search functionalities are fully integrated across the whole OS in a way very reminiscent of Google desktop; Windows Media Player 11 comes with a far more polished interface, like iTunes: etc etc.
For people who like to tweak their system and install lots of new software, this may all seem like old news, but for ordinary users – people like my father, as I tend to say – Vista is a good way of catching up with a broad range of innovations from the last couple of years.
Visually, Vista is much more appealing – even if the interface is (still) not without its inconsistencies and the new look gives more than a passing nod in the direction of Apple. Also, if your graphics card can handle it, there’s the « more visually dynamic » Aero interface – including such delights as its very cool transparent folders!
But the changes are not all cosmetic, of course. A major part of what’s new in Windows Vista concerns what goes on « under the hood », in particular with regard to improved security. Microsoft has come in for a lot of criticism for the security vulnerabilities of previous versions of its operating systems, and Vista is in many ways a response to this.
Unfortunately, this extra security comes at a price. Microsoft has completely redesigned its security model to make Vista « secure by default ». To the average user, what this means in practice is dozens of pop-ups whenever you try to perform even the simplest of administrative tasks. While providing lots of warnings may seem like a good thing, one problem with this is that after a while all the messages tend to blur into one and users may end up clicking indiscriminately just to make the pop-ups go away. Fortunately, there are ways around this, but disabling the security warnings just to get some work done kind of defeats the point of having them in the first place.
You mentioned that not all graphics cards can handle Aero, which brings me to my next question. Will Vista run on my current machine, or am I going to have to invest in a new computer?
You can use the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor tool to see for yourself.
Generally speaking, if a computer is relatively new, you should find one of the five Vista editions that works for you. I even managed to get it running – very slowly – on a cheap laptop that was nearly three years old!
As a CEO, I’d like to know what Vista is going to change for my organization.
Well, the answer in the short term is “not much”.
I say that because I’d be surprised if you’ll be making the switch over to Vista any time soon. As you know, migrating to a new operating system takes careful planning – and time. Add this to the fact that there’s already talk of a first Vista service pack being released in the next few months, and you can be pretty certain you’ll be sticking with XP for a while yet.
What’s more, opinions are divided about what the business benefits of Vista might be. It’s prettier, it’s more secure, and it’s far more searchable, but are any of these requirements enough to justify the expense in migration? That’s up to you to decide.
Personally, I think it’s more likely that we will see a very gradual take-up of Vista, first as people buy new home PCs that come with Vista preinstalled, then as more and more companies start to move over as well. But I don’t think you at Eyeka – or anyone else for that matter – have a really compelling reason to switch to Vista overnight. Wait for Microsoft to iron out a few of the bugs first!