Angry Mom Spanking Ballmer Over Useless Vista

Well, it’s not the Microsoft CEO’s mother – it’s analyst Yvonne Genovese who interviewed Ballmer at the Gartner Symposium.

“My daughter comes in one day and says, ‘Hey Mom, my friend has Vista, and it has these neat little things called gadgets — I need those.'”

Said Ballmer: “I love your daughter.”

“You’re not going to like her mom in about two minutes,” said Genovese, while the crowd laughed.

She went on to explain that she installed Vista for her daughter — and two days later went right back to using the XP operating system.

That must have been one entertaining session. Read the full story at Computerworld. But first, here’s another quote from Ballmer, clearly on the defensive:

“There is always a tension between the value that end users see — and frankly, that software developers see — and the value that we can deliver to IT.”

Yesss. The key word is IT. As in “expert only”. Perhaps it’s time Microsoft recognize that they failed to serve two “masters”, and in catering strictly for IT, delivering a super-secure (?) system they created a monster quite unusable by individual consumers.

I’ve been ranting about Vista enough here, let me just add another gem to prove my point.

It’s probably fair to assume that a lot of Vista (home) users will have at least one older, XP machine around – and if they do, they want these to see these connected on a Home Network. This should be a piece of cake… or not.

  1. Your Vista PC won’t see the XP ones on the network at all.
  2. There’s no documentation whatsoever, but after Googling around you can figure out that you need to patch the XP machines (!) for them to be seen by the Vista. (Incidentally, the patch requires WGA, which fails on one of my perfectly legit computers, but that’s another story)
  3. When Vista still can’t see the networked machines, back Googling again.
  4. After some research you’ll discover a well-hidden statement that it may take up to 15 minutes for a Vista PC to see a networked pre-Vista one. Fifteen minutes!!!! in 2007!!!!

This is just one example of the many idiocies crippling Vista. Nothing major, just stupid little things that don’t work and there is no easily accessible info about.

Vista is for the corporate world with IT departments, period. I can hardly think of better promotion for Apple then releasing Vista to the consumer market. Oh, and since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s one from Princeton University (by way of Espen Antonsen)

Update: It’s not just kids anymore 😉

Update: Ballmer speaks; Can Microsoft be everything to everyone? at Between the Lines. More on the Computerworld Blogs


  1. I haven’t installed it myself yet and have only tried it in new laptop computers of a few of my clients… but confirming what you say, it does give headaches.

    If you only use Vista and Office 2007, after you get used to the changes in the interface things may be OK, but there is no way a company can easily fit to that description (example: if you have Office XP/2002, Vista will not let Outlook remember passwords).

    Rather old PCs that support XP and 2000 simply will not integrate easily with Vista, yet those cheap PCs can still work great for most of the administrative tasks done everywhere, making it unwise for businesses to replace them.

    Replacing computers makes less sense at home, and particularly in the non-developed parts of the world, where Windows 98 is still very much present, and families and businesses don’t want or cannot afford to replace computers where everyday tasks can still be done.

    So I wonder what did Microsoft people think about the non-developed world when they pushed Vista. Are they convinced these users are not worth the business effort? Maybe they thought they would -at most- spend some money in a little RAM and pirate and hold to a copy of XP for ages? Or that they would switch to Linux anyway?

    By the way, at I am putting in writing some of my thoughts on my early encounters with Vista, and would appreciate any comments you could make.


  2. Its instructive that XP had a shelf life of around 6 years, while Vista was only around a year while they began talk of its successor Windows 7.

    I think they got it wrong on both fronts with Vista

  3. I haven't installed it myself yet and have only tried it in new laptop computers of a few of my clients… but confirming what you say, it does give headaches. There are Engineering Resume in which is nice.


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