Where did Microsoft go wrong with Vista?

Vista faces a new challenge in Windows 7, but did Microsoft's many missteps ever really give its predecessor a fighting chance.

Nor does consistently delaying the service packs, as SP1 was pushed into 2008 not good news on the business end, as many companies wait until the release of the first service pack before deploying.

Strange marketing

Advertising isn't everything, but it is something and it's something Microsoft failed on with Vista. In reaction to Apple's more popular Mac Vs PC ads, Microsoft sunk $300 million into a series of bewildering television commercials, including one with comedian Jerry Seinfeld. (You can watch the Seinfeld ad here.)

No one knew what Microsoft was on about in the ad series, so it certainly didn't help make the case for Vista.

And then there was the Mojave project. In this marketing exercise, people were shown a brand new Microsoft OS, and their excitement over how awesome it was recorded for us all to see. But surprise! It wasn't new it was just Vista all along, proving absolutely nothing to anyone who had used the OS on their own and made up their own minds already.

Extending XP's deadline

One of the reasons Vista has been so heavily criticised is that XP was so well loved and easy to use. This may seem a strange thing to criticise Microsoft for, but it proves upgrades need to actually be better than what people are already using.

Extending the XP kill date to the end of May hasn't helped Vista either, giving some larger corporations the idea the hope, even that they don't need to migrate their desktop estate yet. Again, it's a strange criticism to make, given the extensions surely prove Microsoft is listening. But while such moves might be good for customers, Microsoft and XP, they're not helping Vista's struggle.

Windows 7

And then there's Windows 7. It's a toss up, really, whether more people wanted Microsoft to fail on its next OS or to succeed, but it seems to have done the latter not that it's any help for Vista.

After some exceptionally positive reviews, some people are already using the beta as their main operating system.

Business users, however, can't run a beta across their networks. They can wait it out though, and hope Windows 7 is indeed released this year, letting them skip over the wobbly Vista step. There are some indications this is already happening, but Microsoft assured IT PRO that take-up of Vista in corporations was actually on par or exceeding that of XP.

It will be interesting to see how quickly firms switch to Windows 7 though, when they finally have the chance

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