Windows Vista Wow! Forget about Vista SP1, XP SP3 and Windows 7!

That's it, forget about Windows XP Service Pack 3, about Windows 7, the next iteration of Windows and even about Windows Vista Service Pack 1.

So what if consumer demand for Windows XP is still strong even in the context of Vista? So what if original equipment manufacturers and users have forced Microsoft to prolong the availability of XP via the OEM and retail channels until mid 2008, taking sales away from Vista? So what if XP SP3 is stealing all the limelight away from Vista SP1? And so what if Windows 7 is moving to the Windows center stage with Milestone 1 in the detriment of Vista rather than XP? The Windows Vista Wow is making the mother of all comebacks!

Well... January 30, 2008 was supposed to be Vista's day. The celebration of the first year anniversary since Microsoft's latest Windows client hit the shelves. On January 30, 2008 the Wow was supposed to turn one, but it died sometime along the way... throughout the many sped bumps of 2007, the Wow was simply kicked off Vista's ride. Now the operating system flies solo, after the $500 million marketing campaign all but completely flopped. But still, it's the celebration of the one-year anniversary of Windows Vista's worldwide release. And Microsoft's idea for Vista's first birthday was to perform a round table Q&A with members of the Windows Vista team, as well as others that have been involved in the development, testing, deployment and selling of the operating system.

Bellow you will be able to find some excerpts of the Q&A. The highlights are my own:

1. 70% consider Vista better than XP – So what about the other 30%? 30% is by all means quite a large share of users that fail to see anything better in Vista compared to XP. And with Vista having sold 100 million licenses, that's 30 million users!!!

"The fact that we've passed the 100 million mark in licenses says something about people's response, but even more important has been people's increasing enthusiasm for using Windows Vista. With any new operating system, there's a natural reluctance to upgrade because people have concerns about compatibility, they’re uneasy about learning something new or unsure about what the move to a new operating system will bring. But those who are using Windows Vista have generally been very pleased. We commissioned independent studies from IPSos and NPD to explore the attitudes of users about the operating system not only in the U.S., but also in China, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK. According to NDP, 70 percent of these users say it's an improvement over their previous operating system," said Neil Charney, General Manager, Microsoft Windows Client.

2. Vista vs. XP – Throughout the development of Vista Microsoft has also run the "Life With Windows Vista". The program permitted 50 ordinary families to live with Vista as it was built and provided feedback. Robin Mason is the mom of a family that participated in the program.

"That's been my experience, too. Around the time of the launch last year, I was asked how I'd compare Windows Vista to Windows XP. I gave Windows XP a rating of 75 and Windows Vista 80. After using Windows Vista this past year on two of the three computers I have at home, I'd give it a 90. Nothing's perfect," Mason stated. 75? 80? 90? Out of what? 1,000?

3. In China, Windows Vista Home Basic and Home Premium got a permanent price discount. No less than 67% for Home Basic and 50% for Home Premium. That's while the rest of the world still pays $199 and $239 for the two SKUs. But on the other had, Vista Ultimate, the pirated edition is sold in China for as little as $1, certifying the failure of the Windows Genuine Advantage anti-piracy mechanism to keep the operating system genuine. In mid-July, Microsoft worked with the FBI and China’s Public Security Bureau to crack a counterfeiting ring from southern China province of Guangdong, responsible for pushing $2 Billion worth of Microsoft pirated software.

"I'm very pleased that Lenovo participated in the launch of Windows Vista as one of the top strategic partners of Microsoft worldwide and China. We worked hard with Microsoft to create a positive user experience by the seamless integration of Lenovo's unique LXT technologies and Windows Vista, and providing richer applications. We have also helped more customers to understand and adopt Windows Vista by leveraging Lenovo's marketing and service network. I'm very happy to see Windows Vista gaining popularity and more recognition from users along the way," revealed Chen Shaopeng, Lenovo's Senior Vice-President and President of Greater China Region.

4. Compatibility is getting better. Compatibility has been getting better throughout 2007? Are we there yet? Or on January 30, 2009, Microsoft is going to say that compatibility is still getting better?

"We've worked diligently with industry partners to increase the number of Windows Vista-compatible applications and devices, while also building support for them. While we were happy with what we launched with, we also built the system to update seamlessly with the new technology that has been and will be added every day. Today, Windows Vista supports over 43,000 hardware products, almost doubling the 23,000 thousand at launch," Charney added.

5. Microsoft got sued for its Vista logo programs from users claiming that they got duped in purchasing machines deemed Vista Capable and that were not Vista Premium Ready. Ooops...

"Microsoft developed the two-tier Windows Vista Logo Program to help customers more easily identify software and devices that have been tested for compatibility with Windows Vista. Today more than 900 hardware partners have certified thousands of devices and hardware components for Windows Vista that support new innovations in graphics, networking and imaging. We now have 3,494 software and 3,360 hardware products available on retail shelves," explained Jeff Price, Senior Director in the Windows Group at Microsoft.


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