Ballmer Defends Windows Vista

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2008-02-28 Print this article Print

Microsoft's CEO acknowledges that there were a set of hardware and application compatibility issues with Vista, but says these are getting better by the day.

LOS ANGELES-Microsoft may have made mistakes launching Windows Vista, but the operating system was far from a failure, said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Bob Muglia, the company's senior vice president of servers and tools.

The embattled OS may have gone too far in improving security at the expense of application compatibility, and ignored performance issues such as battery life, but sales of the product are evidence that it was a popular success. Also, Ballmer told eWEEK in an interview, Feb. 27, following the launch of Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008, here, updates such as SP1 have improved it's shortcomings,.

Muglia alluded to the perceived success of Server 2008 as opposed to Vista, despite their shared code base.

"It's not really a popularity question in the broad market," he said, referring to sales figures and Microsoft's last quarterly financial results. "We made a number of improvements in security at the expense of some compatibility in Windows Vista, which some saw as improved quality, while others did not,"

"You don't learn, you tune," Ballmer said of lessons learned from the Vista launch. "We over-tuned in security, in a sense, because the feedback from three and four years ago was that we had under-tuned. So maybe we over-tuned on security versus compatibility.

"But, we continue to tune and get smarter and better at that, so as to try and hit the sweet spot where we can respond to all requests without having to trade off one set of properties against another," he said.

"We have made a lot of progress with Windows Vista," he said. "I think SP1 is a major milestone, and a lot of the work on compatibility has come via the work of third-party ISVs and hardware vendors. But I think Windows Vista SP1 will be a kind of mile-post that people will use to see where we are with it now."

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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