The Microsoft Vista Fiasco: Who is Evil Now?

Yes, it’s a harsh title. Yes, I’ve long been critical of Vista. But so far I thought it was just incompetence, the Behemoth having lost their edge. Naive me… this piece in The New York Times is a true eye-opener.

It starts with what appears to be average users’ stories (bare with me, it gets better):

  • Jon upgrades two XP machines to Vista, only to find none of his peripherals work anymore
  • Steven confirms drivers are missing in the entire ecosystem
  • Mike buys a “Windows Vista Capable” laptop which turns out to be a $2,100 email machine, as it doesn’t run his favorite programs, and only can handled the castrated version of Vista that shouldn’t exist in the first place.

If these users didn’t know better, I wonder who should. They are all senior Microsoft Execs:

  • Jon A. Shirley, a Microsoft board member.
  • Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft senior vice president responsible for Windows.
  • Mike Nash, a Microsoft vice president who oversees Windows product management.

They and several other Microsofties warned about the consequences of reducing the original strict hardware requirements and labeling underrated computers as Vista Capable:

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.”

That this would result in disaster was foreseeable:

“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.”

He and others were not listened to. Now Microsoft is facing a class action lawsuit: nothing new to the Redmond giant, just a calculated risk. “Where does Microsoft go to buy back its lost credibility?” asks The New York Times.

Nowhere. They stopped caring a long time ago. The Monopolist does not have customers: they have loyal subjects used to pay their taxes to Microsoft. Except that they are not that loyal anymore, and there are visible cracks on the walls of the empire. There is Linux, Mac OS, Web Applications – customers are slowly realizing they actually have a choice. Choice is the end of all monopolies, it’s just a matter of time. The Borg could slow the process by trying to be user-friendly, at least pretend to care about customers. Deceptive behavior like this shows they don’t care. They are digging their own grave.

(Please, don’t get me started on how profitable Microsoft is doing – I am talking about a trend, and it takes time….)


  1. I know I’m not alone in hating Vista. In fact, the only places I’ve seen the “newer, better” OS is on consumer laptops whose buyers weren’t given a choice between Vista and XP or didn’t know enough to make the right choice when presented with it. All the schools whose computers I’ve seen are still on XP, or even Windows 2000.

  2. I have to disagree with the last paragraph.

    I think that the problem with Microsoft is exactly the fact that they do listen to their customers and let them lead its products to the wrong places.
    It lowered the hardware requirements in order to apeal to a wider audience who’s
    unwilling to buy a new machine for Vista.

    It should have been brave enough to say “no” to its customers and do what’s right for its product…

  3. I hope they prolong XP’s lifespan – I just cannot see what Vista brings to the party.

  4. The only thing that vista does better than xp is that its quicker when using find! Other than that it runs games slower, loads slower and as mentioned here dosent support loads of periperals (including my lexmark printer!). Long live xp.

  5. freddyzdead says

    Does my heart good to see that Vista-bashing doesn’t seem to have died down appreciably after a year. My hope is that Microsoft will cut their losses and flush Vista down the toilet as soon as they can produce something that the public actually wants.

    Sadly, that probably isn’t what will actually happen. M$ has billions invested in it and can afford to stonewall and wait out the screams and yells, until there are no more realistic options left.

    Of course, it needn’t be that way. We can make Vista fail simply by staying away from it in droves. Keep your XP. If your new piece of hard/software requires Vista, look for alternatives. They do exist, but will take some scratching around. To survive, we need to become more tech-savvy, which we should have become earlier, then we wouldn’t be in this mess now.

    So long as we choose the easy way out and let Bill make all the decisions for us, then we will pay the inevitable price: total forfeit of our computer freedom. Yes, it’s that serious.


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  1. […] the sales success, a result of monopoly, nothing changes the fact that Vista is widely considered a fiasco. If this is the best the world’s richest company could come up with 5 years after the […]

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