USA Today reports that business customers are staying away in droves from Microsoft's Vista operating system. It seems that they are perfectly happy with Windows XP and would just as soon not switch.
"I wouldn't put on Vista if it was free," says Weider, chief information officer for Ministry Health Care. "In the past, there's always been an important reason to upgrade, but XP (the previous version of Windows) is perfectly acceptable."
Even as it pursues Internet icon Yahoo to create a more potent online-advertising rival to Google, Microsoft is facing increasing pressure on its Windows cash cow. Corporate customers such as Weider are staging a rare revolt over upgrading to Vista, which launched with much fanfare in January 2007. Last week, Microsoft reported a 24% decline in Windows sales in the third quarter.
"This year is make-it-or-break-it time for Vista," says analyst Benjamin Gray of market tracker Forrester Research. "Vista is getting hammered right and left in the press, and companies are concerned. I'm getting daily client inquiries about skipping Vista altogether and waiting for the next version of Windows. Microsoft is having a tough time convincing their corporate clients that Vista isn't a risky bet."
Microsoft rebuilt Windows from scratch to create Vista, which has a dazzling interface and improved security tools. But so much computing power is required to run it that many people find their new PCs run slower than older, less powerful XP machines. To spur sales, Microsoft earlier this month said consumers will no longer be able to purchase XP as of June 30. The announcement and pending date have unleashed a firestorm of Vista angst.
Online magazine InfoWorld is waging a Save XP campaign. More than 175,000 signatures have been gathered. "Why pull the plug on XP when there's clearly a lot of people who still like it?" says Galen Gruman, InfoWorld executive editor.
Influential analyst Michael Silver at research firm Gartner calls the Vista launch a "disaster." Other critics have been no kinder. CNet called Vista one of the "biggest blunders in technology." PC magazine chronicles Vista's "11 Pillars of Failure." The Christian Science Monitor likened it to Coca-Cola's disastrous New Coke experiment in the 1980s.
Ouch. Frankly, my daughter's Vista computer is the slowest one in the house, despite a dual core processor and two gigs if RAM. My son's antique Pentium II with 96MB of Ram boots faster. I suspect Vista will be remembered as a bust in years to come, especially since an all-new version of Microsoft's operating system is due out in as little as 18 months.
Oh, and Ubuntu Linux version 8.04 is now available. If Microsoft does kill Windows XP on June 30th as they are promising, a lot of older hardware will be switched over to Linux – that will be a bad thing for Microsoft, I think.