Market Conditions Favor an Early Vista Retirement

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-02-02 Print this article Print

5. Windows Vista still sold relatively well

It's easy to focus on the problems Vista had, but we can't forget that the operating system sold relatively well, compared with the rest of the market. Granted, Vista was never able to achieve the kind of success XP did, but it far outpaced Apple's Mac OS X platform. It was also far more popular than any single Linux distribution. Vista might not have been as successful as Microsoft would have liked, but it didn't perform poorly either.

6. Windows 7 is growing rapidly

Windows 7 is quickly becoming the chosen operating system of the market. XP still dominates the OS space, but its market share is dwindling with each passing month as Windows 7 starts taking over. Windows 7 is expected to overtake Vista in market share later this year. It will get closer to XP's market share in the same time. There's no telling when (or if) Windows 7 will be able to capture the majority of the OS market, but if its adoption stays on pace, it has a good shot at it. Microsoft should focus on Windows 7 besting XP, not on the mistakes it committed years ago with Vista.

7. Challenges await

If Microsoft spends too much time focusing on the past, it won't be adequately prepared to meet the challenges that still await its software platform. The market is changing at a rapid rate as software moves to the cloud. At the same time, Microsoft is forced to deliver a new operating system every few years to satisfy its customer base (and bottom line). The longer it focuses on Vista, the less time it can devote to the operating systems that will replace Windows 7. The OS market doesn't wait for any company. Microsoft isn't immune to that rule.

8. Windows XP is old

Although the majority of the market stuck with XP when Vista was offered, it can't do that forever. XP is getting old and the hardware it's running on is slowing down. Both consumers and the enterprise are running out of time before they will be forced to adopt a new operating system. And since most vendors are only offering Windows 7 in new PC configurations, it will only be a matter of time before customers move to Windows 7 out of sheer necessity. In other words, the customers are coming to Windows 7, regardless of their distaste for Vista. Why sweat the past?

9. Vendors are satisfied

When Microsoft released Vista, something rather disconcerting happened: PC vendors didn't follow orders. Rather than force Vista on customers, companies such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard opted to exercise Microsoft's downgrade rights, which allowed customers to request an XP installation rather than Vista. It cut into Microsoft's bottom line and hurt its relationship with vendors. But Windows 7 is a different story altogether. Today, vendors are more than happy to sell Windows 7. And all that talk of downgrade rights is a thing of the past. Vendors are happy. Microsoft should welcome that.

10. The competition is fierce

Microsoft simply doesn't have time to focus on all the mistakes it made years ago. The competition in the operating system space is extremely fierce. Not only are Apple and Linux vying for OS market share on the desktop, Google plans to release its Web-based operating system to compete with Windows on netbooks. Microsoft's competition is gunning for the highly profitable OS market and Microsoft must engage in the right strategy to stop it. Focusing on Vista can't be part of that strategy.

Vista was a mistake. Windows 7 made it right. Microsoft has paid enough for its Vista failures. It's time to move on.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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