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Microsoft’s Vista, Live Strategies

1 - Cover2 - Pages 20-213 - Pages 22-234 - Pages 24-25
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The Seattle Weekly is running a cover story by Mary Jo Foley (of Microsoft Watch fame) about the major challenges facing Microsoft and Windows this year. Besides that I absolutely love any that starts with a funny custom-made cartoon image, the article has some good insights, including some from myself (:-)).

In the article, Ms. Foley maintains that “Windows XP now is looking rather dated”. When it comes to the topic of enticing people to upgrade, many (including myself) maintain that it will be necessary for Microsoft to prove that there is a significant need to have Vista that XP doesn’t fill, a reason XP isn’t good enough for you.

Besides Windows haters, it is quite clear to most that XP is the most stable, best operating system Microsoft has released, and many people are plenty satisfied. I view Vista as a must-have for myself, because it has plenty of things for early adopters to feast on, but the common arguement is that the regular user has little to gain.

However, the arguement that XP looks dated gives me pause. I hadn’t even thought in that direction, but there are plenty of consumers who don’t want that “old” operating system. There are plenty of home users who would upgrade, or get a new system, just because they don’t want to feel like they’re running an out-of date operating system.

If that arguement works, its a little less of the market Microsoft needs to worry about. Now businesses, they’re tough customers…

Beyond that, the article discusses that while Vista, feature-wise, is an improvement but not an evolution, Microsoft is opening the operating system up to web services that may ulitmately change the way we use Windows. An accurate quote, from Sandro Villinger:

Vista doesn’t have the killer feature that will make everyone want Vista the day it comes out

Brandon LeBlanc makes the point that Microsoft may wind up criticized for not having the sexy features, and instead focusing on fixing problems and improving the core operating system. Sexy features get headlines, but I’d rather have a better OS.

After that, the article moves into Windows Live, the Sidebar and Gadgets. Apparently, Microsoft plans on having developers release applications with the tag “Live-Ready”, for those that tie into Windows Live services. Interesting idea. It also maintains that the Sidebar may be the sleeper hit of the OS. Guess who agrees?

5 - quote“Gadgets can be dragged from a Web page and onto the Sidebar and off the Sidebar and onto the rest of the desktop,” says Nathan Weinberg, a Vista tester and senior editor of the InsideMicrosoft blog ( Both Microsoft and third-party developers will create Gadgets. The ultimate goal: “Since Gadgets are a part of Windows Live, Microsoft can deliver any of its Live properties as a new part of Windows, with a simple drag and drop,” says Weinberg.

That’s significant for the software business, for users, and for antitrust lawyers alike. “Since various legal issues prevent Microsoft from bundling more into the operating system, Sidebar allows Microsoft to expand horizontally, instead of vertically,” Weinberg notes. “Microsoft can throw in all sorts of new features through Gadgets and the Sidebar. Of course, any other developers can design Gadgets that might be better than Microsoft’s own, and there is a project under way to bring Google’s own ‘widgets’ over to Windows Live.” Even if those developers are building better features, “as long as Microsoft owns the platform, they win.”

I agonized over that horizontal/vertical sentence, not sure whether it made my point perfectly or made no sense, but I’m glad I went with it. I think it puts it the right way.

Anyway, there are a lot of questions surrounding upgrades to Vista, whether through boxed copies or new hardware. This article should get you up to speed, whether you’ve been obsessed or ignorant, so read it.

Images are screenshots from the Weekly’s freely available online version of the print edition, using DjVu, a pretty good alternative to PDF.

March 15th, 2006 Posted by | General, Live, Vista, Windows | one comment

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1 Comment »

  1. i like ashley cole would like to make crystal clear
    i stelios haji-ioannou am definately not gay in any way at all
    i have had many high profile relationships with real women
    my legal policy
    with regard to my legal policy. I am sure you will understand that i, stelios haji-ioannou cannot permit others to use my family name and the smear campaign i have had to endure without the certainty that i will sue the person or publication for libel due to rights in my character and family name being prejudiced. It follows that no use should be made of the stelios haji-ioannou name (or anything similar to it) and if any smear relating to gay or homosexual practices is made you will be punished to the full extent of the law. And in addition i will seek damages and compensation.

    the though of being gay repulses me and has brought a great deal of shame and embarrisement to my family especially as it is not true.
    i have nothing against gays or lesbians personally and i do not wish to offend anyone at all

    please do not misunderstand me i employ many gays
    but i will sue anyone who calls me a homosexual

    Comment by stelios haji-ioannou | March 15, 2006

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