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….)