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Old 03-10-2008, 08:17 AM
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They Criticized Vista. And They Should Know.

ONE year after the birth of Windows Vista, why do so many Windows XP users still decline to “upgrade”?

Microsoft says high prices have been the deterrent. Last month, the company trimmed prices on retail packages of Vista, trying to entice consumers to overcome their reluctance. In the United States, an XP user can now buy Vista Home Premium for $129.95, instead of $159.95.

An alternative theory, however, is that Vista’s reputation precedes it. XP users have heard too many chilling stories from relatives and friends about Vista upgrades that have gone badly. The graphics chip that couldn’t handle Vista’s whizzy special effects. The long delays as it loaded. The applications that ran at slower speeds. The printers, scanners and other hardware peripherals, which work dandily with XP, that lacked the necessary software, the drivers, to work well with Vista.

Can someone tell me again, why is switching XP for Vista an “upgrade”?

Here’s one story of a Vista upgrade early last year that did not go well. Jon, let’s call him, (bear with me — I’ll reveal his full identity later) upgrades two XP machines to Vista. Then he discovers that his printer, regular scanner and film scanner lack Vista drivers. He has to stick with XP on one machine just so he can continue to use the peripherals.

Did Jon simply have bad luck? Apparently not. When another person, Steven, hears about Jon’s woes, he says drivers are missing in every category — “this is the same across the whole ecosystem.”

Then there’s Mike, who buys a laptop that has a reassuring “Windows Vista Capable” logo affixed. He thinks that he will be able to run Vista in all of its glory, as well as favorite Microsoft programs like Movie Maker. His report: “I personally got burned.” His new laptop — logo or no logo — lacks the necessary graphics chip and can run neither his favorite video-editing software nor anything but a hobbled version of Vista. “I now have a $2,100 e-mail machine,” he says.

It turns out that Mike is clearly not a naïf. He’s Mike Nash, a Microsoft vice president who oversees Windows product management. And Jon, who is dismayed to learn that the drivers he needs don’t exist? That’s Jon A. Shirley, a Microsoft board member and former president and chief operating officer. And Steven, who reports that missing drivers are anything but exceptional, is in a good position to know: he’s Steven Sinofsky, the company’s senior vice president responsible for Windows.

Their remarks come from a stream of internal communications at Microsoft in February 2007, after Vista had been released as a supposedly finished product and customers were paying full retail price. Between the nonexistent drivers and PCs mislabeled as being ready for Vista when they really were not, Vista instantly acquired a reputation at birth: Does Not Play Well With Others.

We usually do not have the opportunity to overhear Microsoft’s most senior executives vent their personal frustrations with Windows. But a lawsuit filed against Microsoft in March 2007 in United States District Court in Seattle has pried loose a packet of internal company documents. The plaintiffs, Dianne Kelley and Kenneth Hansen, bought PCs in late 2006, before Vista’s release, and contend that Microsoft’s “Windows Vista Capable” stickers were misleading when affixed to machines that turned out to be incapable of running the versions of Vista that offered the features Microsoft was marketing as distinctive Vista benefits.

Last month, Judge Marsha A. Pechman granted class-action status to the suit, which is scheduled to go to trial in October. (Microsoft last week appealed the certification decision.)

Anyone who bought a PC that Microsoft labeled “Windows Vista Capable” without also declaring “Premium Capable” is now a party in the suit. The judge also unsealed a cache of 200 e-mail messages and internal reports, covering Microsoft’s discussions of how best to market Vista, beginning in 2005 and extending beyond its introduction in January 2007. The documents incidentally include those accounts of frustrated Vista users in Microsoft’s executive suites.

Today, Microsoft boasts that there are twice as many drivers available for Vista as there were at its introduction, but performance and graphics problems remain. (When I tried last week to contact Mr. Shirley and the others about their most recent experiences with Vista, David Bowermaster, a Microsoft spokesman, said that no one named in the e-mail messages could be made available for comment because of the continuing lawsuit.)

The messages were released in a jumble, but when rearranged into chronological order, they show a tragedy in three acts.

Act 1: In 2005, Microsoft plans to say that only PCs that are properly equipped to handle the heavy graphics demands of Vista are “Vista Ready.”

Act 2: In early 2006, Microsoft decides to drop the graphics-related hardware requirement in order to avoid hurting Windows XP sales on low-end machines while Vista is readied. (A customer could reasonably conclude that Microsoft is saying, Buy Now, Upgrade Later.) A semantic adjustment is made: Instead of saying that a PC is “Vista Ready,” which might convey the idea that, well, it is ready to run Vista, a PC will be described as “Vista Capable,” which supposedly signals that no promises are made about which version of Vista will actually work.

The decision to drop the original hardware requirements is accompanied by considerable internal protest. The minimum hardware configuration was set so low that “even a piece of junk will qualify,” Anantha Kancherla, a Microsoft program manager, said in an internal e-mail message among those recently unsealed, adding, “It will be a complete tragedy if we allowed it.”

Act 3: In 2007, Vista is released in multiple versions, including “Home Basic,” which lacks Vista’s distinctive graphics. This placed Microsoft’s partners in an embarrassing position. Dell, which gave Microsoft a postmortem report that was also included among court documents, dryly remarked: “Customers did not understand what ‘Capable’ meant and expected more than could/would be delivered.”

All was foretold. In February 2006, after Microsoft abandoned its plan to reserve the Vista Capable label for only the more powerful PCs, its own staff tried to avert the coming deluge of customer complaints about underpowered machines. “It would be a lot less costly to do the right thing for the customer now,” said Robin Leonard, a Microsoft sales manager, in an e-mail message sent to her superiors, “than to spend dollars on the back end trying to fix the problem.”

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?


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/business/09digi.html?em&ex=1205294400&en=16c93380cf8296d8&ei=5087%0A

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  #2  
Old 03-10-2008, 08:29 AM
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You can still buy a Dell with XP at their online store. Other companies should do the same.
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  #3  
Old 03-10-2008, 12:02 PM
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maybe I'm an old dieselhead curmudgeon, or a VW owner....

If you buy something in its first year - cars, OS's, PDA's - and the technology is "all brand new".....aren't you asking for lots or unknown crap to start breaking on you ?

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  #4  
Old 03-10-2008, 01:20 PM
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Both of my Vista computers work great. Everyone needs the latest technoligy, but if you just wait a few months you should get the mature sorted version.

I'd have no problem buying a new computer with Vista by now, I'm sure its just as reliable as anything else.
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  #5  
Old 03-10-2008, 10:08 PM
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I have a complete set of 3.11 diskettes if someone wants the good old days.
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raymr View Post
You can still buy a Dell with XP at their online store. Other companies should do the same.
I seem to recall hearing that Dell only offered Vista for a while after it first came out. Then they ended up having to go back to XP because they had so many complaints. I have no personal expaerience with it, but Ive been spooked by a lot of bad things I've heard.
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  #7  
Old 03-10-2008, 10:27 PM
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I don't need no steenkin' Vista!

Signed, Ned Ludd
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  #8  
Old 03-10-2008, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waybomb View Post
I have a complete set of 3.11 diskettes if someone wants the good old days.
Ohh windows for networking! I remember the machine that I had 3.11 installed on....a 386DX40 ...fassst machine...faster than some of the first 486's. Plus, with the 8MB of RAM, I was making those 1.5 million transistors earn their keep

I had few problems with 95 or 98, and even fewer with XP. (I am scared of Me and 2k) (well, ok, not scared, but I don't like them).

Does anybody know why Vista is needed?

Or is it a more is more, thing?
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  #9  
Old 03-11-2008, 08:34 AM
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Everything is networked here.

NT worked great for us after a long time in the 3.11 amusement park. It cost a bundle in hardware & software to migrate to NT but reliability increased markedly. The switch to XP cost a bundle in software & hardware upgrades but the reliability increase was phenomenal.

I'm with you: Why switch to Vista?

B
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  #10  
Old 03-11-2008, 08:52 AM
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I wonder if the public is really that concerned with having such frequent and constant "improvement" that we are willing to sacrifice reliability, stability, and dependability just to get some neato new features. I still think lovingly of my old rotary dial telephone. I couldn't carry it around in my pocket, couldn't access the Internet on it, and couldn't take pictures with it, but the damned thing was easy to operate and it always worked.
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  #11  
Old 03-11-2008, 08:54 AM
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I have stuff I wrote, pictures I took, etc. YEARS and YEARS ago. I have other things stored on disks that I don't think I can access anymore. Progress like that seems questionable to me.

My pen and paper work fine even when the lights go out. The telephone did, too, now that I think of it.
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  #12  
Old 03-11-2008, 04:16 PM
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I'm still running 98 on a PC me and some friends built in a kitchen in 2000. I'm starting to think about getting a new one. From the looks of it, when I do I should probably avoid Vista.
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Old 03-11-2008, 05:36 PM
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I love my Win2k machine. My laptop with Vista is extremely annoying. My Dad's desktop with Vista sucks ***. Here's a semi quote (since I can't remember what it actually says) "you have to be an administrator to make the changes", while being logged in as the administrator.. GRRRRRR.. I don't need a machine telling me it needs my permission to continue. Hattie, have you found a way to get rid of that part?
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Old 03-11-2008, 06:03 PM
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This is exactly why I switched over to a Mac
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Old 03-11-2008, 06:06 PM
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My mom's dell laptop with Vista on it works great and runs fast. In the 8 months she (and I) have been using it I dont think it has crashed once.

I see no point in putting Vista on my desktop yet because not enough games have come out supporting DirectX 10. Price isn't really an issue, I dont think I've ever paid for any of Microsoft's OS.

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