Hardware Issues Continue To Plague Vista

Dennis Faas's picture

Will you be upgrading to Windows Vista any time soon? Vote your opinion at the end of this article!


At the annual WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference) earlier this month, Microsoft issued new numbers in an attempt to bridge troubled waters concerning the success of their new Windows Vista operating system (OS).

Microsoft claims to have sold almost 40 million copies of Windows Vista in its first 100 days, twice as many copies of Windows XP after its first 100 days. The big question is, who's buying them? PC makers under contract with them? Consumers aren't buying them at a rapid pace. A recent report released by In-Stat states that Vista isn't expected to boost PC sales significantly. Consumers will buy a new PC when they're ready, and they'll be stuck with whatever OS is pre-installed on it.

The report released by In-Stat says that Windows Vista's release may have distorted PC sales in the last 6 months, but that it's unlikely to accelerate the market overall.

Many retailers and small business systems administrators suggest that if Vista hadn't been released and pre-installed on newer PCs, Microsoft would have sold just as many copies of XP. On my recent trip to Best buy this past weekend, after speaking with a couple of different sales associates and noticing the dust collecting on various boxed versions of Vista, I was informed that several of their customers refused to buy new PCs because they couldn't get XP on them. Corporate acceptance of Vista has also been slow.

In the 5 years since XP was introduced, the personal computer market has nearly doubled. Research from Gartner research group shows that 51 million PCs were sold to consumers in 2002. This year, it's predicted that 96 million PCs will be sold to consumers. Given the availability of XP on most retailers shelves, which was at the time for the most part non-existent, it's no surprise that more versions of Vista have been sold. That is beginning to change though. XP is becoming more readily available on some retailers shelves.

A press release from Microsoft after XP was released was touting 7 million licenses sold which, at the time worked out to "200 percent higher sales than sales of Windows 98 in the first month of its availability".

Microsoft states that the vast majority of hardware devices and peripherals available today work with Windows Vista: 1.9 million devices to be exact. According to Microsoft Executives, there are now 785 printers, 80 scanners, 308 monitors, 165 sound cards and more than 250 ISV (independent software vendors) software products have been tested and certified.

9,000 of those products have passed Windows Vista Logo tests. Of those 9,000 products, 4,242 (as of April 11th) are Certified for Windows Vista.

Attendees of the WinHEC say that the number of drivers available for Vista may be improving, but the quality of drivers for existing products is questionable and the availability of hardware that utilizes the new features of Vista is very small.

Major programming changes in the new Vista OS have created hardships on all OEMs, device manufacturers and ISVs. Microsoft, in their rush to launch the newest system after more than 5 years in development, provided tools to help in the development of drivers, but failed to produce the documentation needed by systems engineers and developers.

Hardware manufacturers are in no rush to create new drivers for existing products because they want consumers to buy new products. Sales have been great for memory manufacturers though due to the hefty demands of the new OS.

Adding more fuel to the fire is the difficulty encountered by new PC buyers who want to downgrade to Windows XP. In order to fight piracy, Microsoft requires customers to call and obtain a special override key to activate Windows XP on new PCs that come with Windows Vista pre-installed.

I don't condone piracy and can appreciate their attempts to fight it, but at the same time, coercing the public into purchasing the "latest and greatest" is a bad way to do business.

Depending where you look and what you read, Vista is either doing very well or very poorly. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground. How successful will Windows Vista be? Only time will tell.

Will you be upgrading to Windows Vista any time soon?

Tell us what you think!:


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