Vista Hype: Fact or Fiction?

Dennis Faas's picture

Being fair minded while discussing Microsoft is difficult for me considering all the illegal activities their management has engaged in, and have been convicted for, in both U.S. and International Courts over the years. But, I do try hard to be as open-minded as I possibly can when talking about their software.

With that in mind, I wanted to talk to you about Vista and all the hype that has been blowing around in the wind. It is confusing, conflicting, and in some cases, just too hard to believe!

Let me begin.

On one hand, you hear Microsoft touting the virtues of Vista as the Best OS since sliced bread! The jury is still out on that, of course, but there is strong evidence that it is not -- at least, under the hood. Yes, it does have a pleasing look to it with the Aero Desktop, but XP can be made to look the same way! Linux distributions have, for years, had several different desktops that could, with a little configuring, look as good (if not better) than Vistas best, and with more useful features, too.

Performance is another area that Microsoft has been pushing. "Vista is faster!" as the advertisements say. When you examine the criteria used, however, you start seeing a few things that seem to skew the results a bit.

For example: in a trial between XP and Vista, the Vista machine was optimized for doing whatever the test is trying to prove (downloading, file access, etc.) while the XP system was not. And even then, the timings that I have seen are in the range of less than a few milliseconds. That's certainly not enough to make a real difference, but enough for the claim. If the test was completely fair, I'm sure the XP system would show to be the quicker.

Other things, however, aren't so easily compared.

One of those, is DRM, or "Digital Rights Management," which offers no advantage to users at all. DRM controls what you can and can't watch or hear on your PC. If you have a favorite movie you watch from time to time, you may not be able to watch it much longer.

DRM is designed, and implemented, strictly for the benefit of Microsoft and the Recording and Movie Industry. Forget about using downloaded music or movies via peer-to-peer methods: it can't be shared. Not that I totally support P2P, but I still consider DRM an encroachment on my right of ownership. If I bought my copy of whatever from a legit dealer or retailer, I expect to be able to play it wherever I wish. But, now I will need to pay a licensing fee to use my computer to play it. Who gets paid? I'm guessing Microsoft, who then shares the fee with the product producers.

If you listen to the market speak from Microsoft, Vista is sweeping the world and selling like crazy, but if you pay attention to what is being said to stock analysts by Microsoft, the words are: "not as strong as predicted," and "softer market than expected" (according to a March 12th issue of InformationWeek magazine).

With Government agencies stepping back both in the U.S. and abroad and with large businesses saying 2008 before implementation, Microsoft has a serious problem on its hands. Oh, they are still on their marketing soap box pushing Vista, but there is another refrain being stated more quietly that the consumer won't hear unless they are paying attention to the man behind the curtain and not the bad magician waving his hands.

Like the Carney Barker says, "It ain't over until the Fat Lady Sings!"

Stick around for the show!

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