Blinded by Vista Sales Success

It turns out someone does like Windows Vista, along with Office and the other stuff Microsoft sells.

– reports the New York Times, quoting Microsoft’s Kevin Johnson:

Customer demand for Windows Vista this quarter continued to build with double-digit growth in multi-year agreements by businesses and with the vast majority of consumers purchasing premium editions.

(emphasis mine)

…lot of folks spend so much time bitching about Vista and Office that they overlook one key point: Folks are buying this stuff.

– says Between the Lines. Donna Bogatin goes on in her “the-blogosphere-is-all-wrong-except-me” style:

The disconnect between tech blogosphere negative Microsoft hype and positive Microsoft reality continues to astound. Yesterday, Microsoft reported 27% revenue growth, fastest first quarter since 1999

Typical Vista gloom and doom blogger headlines: “No one is lining up for Windows Vista in San Francisco,” “The top five things about Windows Vista that still suck,” “Is Windows XP too good for Microsoft’s own good?”…

If Vista were truly the nightmare it is made out to be in the blogosphere, wouldn’t there be a massive consumer Microsoft revolt?

Time for a reality check. Product quality, customer satisfaction and market success have very little to do with each other when you have a monopoly.

The Vista problems are real, they are not fantasies created by bloggers. But how exactly are consumers supposed to revolt? They still need computers, and despite Apple’s respectable growth, they still represent a fraction of the consumer PC market. Try to buy a PC today, it’s hard to NOT end up with Vista (even I got one)

Customer demand for Vista? No, it’s customer demand for computers, in a market with no choice. I’m not “making this up”, Donna. It’s all in Microsoft’s 10-Q:

…Client revenue growth correlates with the growth of purchases of PCs from OEMs that pre-install versions of Windows operating systems because the OEM channel accounts for approximately 80% of total Client revenue. The differences between unit growth rates and revenue growth rates from year to year are affected by changes in the mix of OEM Windows operating systems licensed with premium edition operating systems as a percentage of total …

The increased “demand” for premium versions comes from another well-documented fact, i.e. Microsoft’s new segmentation, castrating Vista Home Basic and essentially making Home Premium the equivalent of XP Home – a hidden price increase, by any measure.

A true measure of “demand” for Vista would be corporate licenses and retail sales, and both are behind. But not for long: eventually, after the release of SP1 corporate IT will give in, too – who wants to be “left behind”, after all.

This isn’t liking Vista at all – it’s assimilation by the Borg.

Related posts: Between the Lines, Insider Chatter, Seeking Alpha, All about Microsoft, Tom Foremski: IMHO, Silicon Valley Watcher, Mark Evans, Computerworld,, Seeking Alpha Software stocks, Todd Bishop’s Microsoft Blog, Alice Hill’s Real Tech News, Paul Mooney, Between the Lines , TechCrunch, All about Microsoft and Parislemon (who, like me, did not overdose of $Kool-aid$)

Update (1/11/08): A UK Government report advises school to avoid upgrading to Vista, or deploying Office 2007.

See further update here.


  1. Been using vista for over a year now… no problems.

    The problem imo isn’t MS’ monopoly, but the blogsphere bias towards the company.

    Here’s how this goes down – Microsoft releases a new OS, everybody lines up to bash it because all the “cool kids” do it. Apple sells a service pack and everybody is cheering, bringing flowers and worshiping it.

  2. Alex, I personally spent hours fixing Vista crap, if you search this blog, you’ll find some evidence, and of course even more by Googling it.

    The fact that PC Manufacturers were pushed to allow customers roll back to XP is not urban legend, it’s reality.

    But this will all be history in two years, we’ll be in a Vista world.

    The problem isn’t the monopoly directly; it’s buggy software with undocumented problems/feautures. It’s the fact that MS does not really HAVE TO release user-friendly and working software anymore, since their market is almost “guaranteed”. So, indirectly, it’s all about the monopoly.

  3. HI
    I am another early vista adopter. I did have some NVidia problems with my dual core AMD four monitor vista machine but everything has been fine now for months. Love it in fact. Find going back to XP a clunky experience. I am a windows developer and have mostly MS software on the machine. I do use quite a bit of none MS software and it seems to work pretty well.

  4. Zoli, I believe that the pc manufacturers, mainly dell, simply gave into the cries of the blogosphere, which in its turn made some consumers worry and ask for XP instead of Vista when they wouldn’t care otherwise.

    It’s perfectly normal for a brand new OS to have initial driver issues. That was the case with 95, 98, XP and same in Vista. It’s impossible to roll out a new major version of kernel and have no compatibility issues. Try to do so results in a huge mess (for example, IE team has attempted to just that).

    To me windows just works. Because the worse case scenario is a linux desktop, as much progress that it made in recent years, it’s still light years behind on drivers and usability. OSX in this case counts for nothing because it runs on a completely cosed system and it’s very easy to perfect stability and drivers when you have only a couple of hundred, maybe thousands hardware combination as opposed to millions which windows and linux must support.

    Sure, Vista has flaws and bugs, just like any other operating system. Some people are unfortunate that their hardware combination causes them to have more issues. While I haven’t had a single crash or problem in over a year on Vista, trying to install Ubuntu 7.04 on the very same box resulted in absolutely nothing – live cd didn’t event boot.

    Vista has been very solid in my experience and i very much enjoy the new office.

    Windows monopoly is a double sided coin. On one side you have all the bad things that come with corporate power. On the other side you have a single OS and a single standard which gives developers the ability to develop once and reach 90% of the market. Without one solid platform, the IT world would easily be in chaos that linux is now.

    The only reason why linux is seeing a rise and development now is because of the major players backing select distributions. Now you can develop linux software and test it in 3-6 major distros instead of 30-60.

    Some things need to be centralized and have standards behind them. More often than not both are achieved by corporate backing and there’s just no getting away from it.

  5. I can’t agree with Zoli more. Without knowing, I designed a great benchmark for Vista: I bought a new Thinkpad X61, identical to a work machine I had, loaded with XP. I was happy to get the new Thinkpad with Vista on it- as many, I was curious and wanted to play with it. As I have written in my blog, MSFT messed up with the most basic parameter, speed. Everything takes so much longer on the Vista laptop.
    True, Windows was slower than DOS when it first came out but it was dramatically better in UI and ease of use. What is dramatically better about Vista???

  6. I provide consumer PC support services for a living. As far as Vista is concerned, I am now receiving at least 3 calls a weeks from people who want Vista removed from their new PC/laptop purchase and replaced with XP. Even after upgrading their systems to 2GB memory and disabling Vista’s security feature, they still don’t think it’s fast enough for the work they do. And if it means having to buy a new webcam when drivers are unavailable for the embedded webcam, so be it. I hear about people whose new Vista PCs sit mostly unused, with their owners doing most of their work on their older Windows machines. Even with Microsoft’s extension of XP sales, retailers still do not want to go to the trouble of getting you a PC with XP because of their very low profit margins. I have machines with both XP and Vista (both of which are tweaked for performance), and after six months I hardly use the Vista PC anymore. Too many issues come up with Vista.

  7. Sure Vista is the best thing MS has done for Linux! My User database has grown 1000% and I no Longer worry about complaints. like their systems incompatablities the only hard thing is setting up shockwave with wine and installing java into debian the only 2 hard things to setup, but then agin without viruses please leave me some work to do:) In any case most of these clients after about 2 months initail setteling in then I wont hear from them unless they buy new hardware they want hookedup. Since switching from Dev/support/tech only with MS to Linux Dev/support/tech I have actually increased my Income at least 200%


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  3. […] system. Or like me, ranting about Vista. Which brings me to my point: although we’re blinded by the sales success, a result of monopoly, nothing changes the fact that Vista is widely considered a fiasco. If this […]

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