The Vista Catch 22

By Michael Flanakin @ 6:55 AM :: 2273 Views :: Technology, Microsoft, Predictions :: Digg it!

I feel like I've been hearing more and more about how Vista is a flop lately. Some even say Microsoft should abandon Vista. I honestly have no idea what these people are talking about. I've switched myself and others on every machine I've had the opportunity to, 7 at last count, and nobody's looked back once. The only valid concern I've heard from people about upgrading is the fact that some hardware/software doesn't work or has problems. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to belittle the value of these things. I'm merely saying this isn't Microsoft's fault. Vista has been no secret. Microsoft is pretty good about letting its partners know what's coming. Heck, over the past 3-5 years, they've been getting better and better about letting us all know what's coming. Granted, all this one-sided effort to prepare vendors for the upgrade doesn't mean much if the vendors choose not to upgrade their software. Speaking of which, I have to say that the vast majority of the upgrade issues come from bad practices, including insecure software design from lazy developers. If you have an app that doesn't work, I'd question how secure it is and possibly the stance and effort the vendor has on and puts into security altogether. The bottom line is there's nothing Microsoft can really do at this point -- it's in the hands of vendors, now. With that, I'm going to say there's a catch 22 for those who've chosen not to upgrade/fix their software. Vendors won't put effort into fixing their products for Vista if users aren't migrating and users won't migrate unless their products are supported. What's everyone to do? Sure, Virtual PC can solve some problems, but not all. Besides, the idea of VPC boggles the minds of most end users, so I wouldn't even try to suggest that.

I have no idea what the right answer is, but it's an interesting problem Microsoft faces. This is a problem they've faced before, but never so drastic. Clearly, this is a key opportunity for other OS vendors to benefit as they offer potential migration paths for those not willing to migrate to Vista, but there's faulty logic there, too. Linux is still not an option for most users; and, Mac is more appealing than it's ever been -- especially with the latest release -- but we're starting to see it gravitate to more of a power user base -- especially with the latest release -- which doesn't make sense for the vast majority of users. On the Mac side, they suggest virtualization to solve any Windows-specific needs, which I'd argue is still too complex for most users.

Just to touch on the "abandon Vista" thought, I will say I think Microsoft should speed up it's plans to migrate off the Win32 platform. Well, let me clarify by saying I don't know if that's actually a plan or not. If it isn't, it should be. I've seen it coming for a while, but that's mostly in vague directions Microsoft has taken with different tools/technologies. I'd like to see a solid effort to dump the crap that's plagued Windows users for years. Not all at once, perhaps, but there needs to be a migration strategy. I think I've made my desires known: I want to see a .NET-based OS. There will be a platform shift, the question is when will it hit?