Lately it sure seems like a day does not go by where I don’t run across at least one or two news stories about how annoying Microsoft’s Windows Vista is. A recent article on CNN is a prime example of how bad the reception of Vista has been from folks who simply know better. Talk of limitations on virtualization and media playback combined with hardware and software compatibility problems are making Vista look very bad in comparison to even Windows XP. Of course some of these issues might be addressed over the next few months but I think I have three good reasons why Vista is making for the bottom faster than you might think.
Unless you have been living under a rock you may have already read some of the early impressions of Windows Vista. Even those early reviews reminded everyone that Vista was still a very new product and it would have some rough edges. What many seemed to have missed was just how annoying Windows Vista really is. Here are just three examples of why Windows Vista is destined to be compared to Windows Millennium and why Microsoft is already directing significant efforts on producing something to replace it within the next two years.
1. DRM problems and lack of anything even remotely demonstrating an understanding of how users want to use digital media.
Although there has already been a significant amount of bad press regarding DRM (Digital Rights Management) features and limitations under Windows Vista I think it is worth noting just how unrealistic Microsoft really is in thinking folks are going to go quietly when forced into such restrictions. Seriously, as people become more accustomed to using digital media they are going to expect greater freedoms not more restrictions. Windows Vista imposes (and has the capability to do much more) in some cases severe restrictions on how people can use media they already own. Most of the folks I know are going to dump Vista the second they get even the slightest indication that they can’t play something that used to work just fine under XP. Not that I advocate piracy but going to extremes to prevent a tiny number of users doing something wrong is almost as bad as the piracy itself. Of course you can expect that someone will write a work-around any day now for most of these restrictions anyway but just having them there to begin with is adding insult to injury.
2. Limits on how Vista can be used under Virtualization and activation requirements are chasing away users.
Like the CNN article indicates, the lack of support for virtualization in the cheaper versions of Windows Vista is definitely a marketing tactic. In fact, after thinking about this issue a bit I am willing to even claim that this is really a defensive move by Microsoft. The intent here is to prevent folks from running Windows Vista under other operating systems (virtualized) since this would erode existing Microsoft partnerships with PC makers. I also suspect they don’t want this to happen for several other reasons, not the least of which might be how quickly users of Mac OSX (or Ubuntu) might discover just how bad Vista is and forget they ever installed it.
UPDATE!!! Looks like the NY Times is weighing in on the virtualization issue…
3. Lack of stable drivers for key features is scaring both gamers and power users away from Windows Vista.
Like I myself discovered, Vista lacks the kind of stable driver support that we all had come to expect from Windows XP (did I say “stable” and “XP” in the same sentence!). Recent problems with video drivers has many early adopters who expected to be able to play common 3d games up in arms. Other problems with performance on even brand new hardware have driven many power users to uninstall Windows Vista in favor of XP for the time being. Given that Vista is very new some problems were to be expected, however the sheer number of complaints has been growing and with many corporations starting to impose temporary bans on Vista purchases I can’t see things getting better anytime soon.
Of course Windows Vista will eventually get better, but very much like Windows Millennium I suspect that by the time most of the issues have been resolved many folks will have moved on. Perhaps to whatever Microsoft comes up with to replace Vista, or maybe to other competing operating system.