Dvorak: Vista’s 11 Pillars of Failure

Everyone’s been talking for what feels like an eternity about Vista being a major blunder, and everyone has their theories as to why it happened. So why would John C. Dvorak be any different? He’s got 11 reasons why the OS was destined to flop.I guess I fall into the category of “the first group,” as labeled by Dvorak. I am a happy Windows Vista user. I’d be curious to know how OSNews readers would categorize themselves. But before anyone excoriates me for not taking up the anti-Vista banner, let me describe my Vista experience, which isn’t exactly typical:

First, I have a brother who works for Intel. When he came to visit me for Thanksgiving he brought me a new Quad-core processor and high-end Intel motherboard. I used it to build up a system from scratch. Thanks to Newegg and Clubit.com and my high tolerance for filing out rebate forms, the rest of the components I needed to build my system only cost me about $300, half of that being a 750 GB hard drive. My old computer? I gave it to my kids, and it’s still running XP. Needless to say, any slowdown in performance from Vista is unnoticeable since my new computer is about 11 times faster than my old one. This phenomenon also applies to most people whose first exposure to Vista is on a new computer. Their new machine is faster, and they don’t have a reference point to know how XP would run on the same machine.

Thanks to the free OEM version of Vista I got, I didn’t have to navigate Microsoft’s mind-blowingly confusing Vista merchandizing, nor did I have to pay an outrageous licensing fee. The retail cost of Vista Ultimate would have been more than my computer cost me. Despite being quite the OS insider, I had to go look up what the differences between Vista versions are. And when I went to this page all I saw was confusing and useless marketing fluff.

The comparison table is more helpful, showing me that Basic doesn’t have Aero or anything else, that Business doesn’t have Media Center, and that Home doesn’t have backup or remote access. Only Ultimate has drive encryption. Looking at the chart makes me certain that Microsoft decided beforehand on the prices and the market segments that could bear those prices, and rearranged the features, or commissioned new features, trying to make each version as crippled as they thought they could get away with to maximize revenue. They way it looks to me, every optional Windows feature looks like it would be very valuable to some people, but very few will be interested in them all. By sprinkling them around in the various versions, they hope to make just about everyone pay more money for the few special features they need, while making them pay for bundled features they don’t care about. Kind of like your cable TV bill.

The worst part of the Vista segmentation is that consumers have to decide ahead of time what new things they’re going to do with their computer. They have to know whether remote access or drive encryption will be useful for them, or pay up just in case. When people have to decide to pay for a fancy new feature before they have a chance to see whether it’s actually useful for them, you have a bad situation: people who don’t pay have regret that they never got to try those features out, and some people who do pay will regret it when that feature turns out to not work well or they just don’t use it.

As for Vista being too big, 750 GB is a pretty big drive, and since mine’s a traditional desktop, I didn’t have to deal with battery life issues. I also didn’t have any problems with drivers, since I made my Vista move months after the launch and was using all-new components. Needless to say, my computer didn’t have a dishonest Vista capable sticker on it. All in all, most of Dvorak’s complaints didn’t apply to my situation.

But perhaps my greatest reason for not having a problem with Vista is that I really only use this computer for browsing the web and working on the occasional document. My primary computer is a Mac laptop, and that’s where I do my “real work.” This Vista machine is also a media server, and I use TVersity (not Media Center) to stream and transcode video to my TV through a DirecTV HR20 HD DVR and music to various devices through iTunes. Vista has a pleasing interface and works perfectly well on my outrageously-fast-for-what-I-use-it-for hardware. Probably the only thing I don’t like about Vista as compared to XP is all the nagging about security. One of these days I’ll have to take some time to find out how to turn it off.

I can see that many people who eagerly anticipated Vista’s release have been let down, because their machines don’t run Vista well, and they had to navigate the merchandising minefield and pay for an upgrade that gave them little benefit. How about you, OSNews reader? Which category are you in, and why?


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