The "C" Branch

Jaded commentary on random shit, with an extra helping of cynicism, satire and general contempt for society & Western culture, religion, politics, celebrities, technology, business & more.

May 22

What happened to Vista?

Windows VistaJust shy of about four months ago, Microsoft released its latest version of Windows, named Vista. It was supposed to solve all world problems (or at least as far as compuers go). Microsoft boasted of outstanding security, increased usability, ease of use, and many features that sounded very promising. In fact, it sounded like just what Microsoft needed to revive itself from the old, outdated mess of Windows XP. It would feature a glamorous and elegant new interface with shadows, fading, and 3-D effects, to put the “Wow” back into Windows. Connecting computers would be a cinch with the newer, easier to use networking features. Photos, videos, and music would be easier than ever to hear, watch, and share. It really sounded like Vista would blow the software industry away, and I almost started to get scared that my beloved Mac OS X would have a little competition.

So what happened? Almost four months later, we hardly even hear anything about Vista!

Well, it turns out Vista itself kinda got blown away instead…in the wind. Microsoft certainly did not deliver what it promised, and people realize that. First, Microsoft did not really introduce anything new to the world of operating systems. Nearly every feature they threw in to make Vista the “best ever” was already out there, so there was nothing to make Vista “better.” For example, the instant, real-time searching that Vista made so easy to get to has been a click away in OS X for several years. The shotty security improvements that Microsoft scraped together mean nothing when compared to the rock-solid security of other operating systems that require no third-party security software which Vista, incedentally, still does.

Second, Microsoft’s marketing of different editions of Vista is pointless, confusing, and cheats its customers. An upgrade copy of Vista, which means that it is for a valid Windows user who legally purchased a previous version of Windows, costs about $100. This, however, is for the most basic version of Vista. The full, non-upgrade version of the most basic Vista edition costs a mere $200. Unfortunately, all the features that are the whole point of buying Vista are not included in the basic version. There are a few different available upgrades for users who want to spend a bit more, but essentially, for a full copy of Vista, with all its features, a customer would need to pay approximately $400. That’s a lot of money for just an operating system, considering that the customer would probably then need to purchase a copy of Microsoft Office for another small fortune. In essence, Microsoft leads its customers to believe they can purchase its new software for $100 when in reality they will need to fork out three or four times that amount.

Lastly, Microsoft, simply put, has done some very stupid things with its new software. For example, Vista’s new security warnings are annoying and obnoxious, and plain insulting to its users. It is no surprise that because of things like this, Microsoft has received a plethora of criticism from all directions.

The buzz about Vista has died down quickly. We hardly hear anything about it anymore. What we do hear, however, is a lot of criticism. I think that says something.

In conclusion, Vista doesn’t stand a chance when compared to other solutions that have already been in the market for quite some time. Microsoft’s concern for marketing and making money has slowly been taking over what should be its first priority: its users. If it cannot create an affordable, reliable product for its customers, then its purpose, regardless of how much money it may draw in, is really not fulfilled at all.

If you’re thinking about Vista, now may be a good time to think again. Stick with what you’ve got for a while, or, if you don’t mind, might I suggest an alternative?