For the past three years, Microsoft has struggled with the poor development decisions it made with Windows Vista. During the same period, Internet Explorer drew unwanted attention from government regulators and Microsoft Office was subject to user criticism about the way its features have evolved.
But Vista was undoubtedly the biggest target. The operating system that followed Windows XP-a favorite among consumers and businesses alike-suffered from incompatibility problems, resource-intensiveness and security issues, making it a poor choice for most Windows users. And unlike its predecessor, which enjoyed dominant market share, Vista was unable to achieve such success.
Since its release, Microsoft has been paying for the mistakes it made with Vista. Even when it tried to shift the market's focus from Vista to its latest release, Windows 7, it had a hard time. Regardless, the company pressed on, trying desperately to make the case to consumers that it could fix its mistake. It was a tough battle, but Microsoft has succeeded.
According to a recent report from Net Applications, Windows 7 has captured 10 percent of the market in just over three months of availability. It took Vista 11 months to hit that mark. Most importantly, the market share of XP and Vista is slipping as users transition to Microsoft's latest operating system.
Finally, the time has come for Microsoft to leave Vista in the past. The days of attempting to make the case that it can do better are over. The company has proven it can. Now it's time for Microsoft to look to the future, forget about the errors it committed with Vista and continue its drive to make Windows 7 as big a success as XP.
1. The enterprise is forgetting
The enterprise had the biggest problem with Vista. Companies both large and small have relied upon Windows for years. With each new release of the operating system, the corporate world switches to the new platform. But Vista was different. After realizing the problems with the OS, companies opted to stick with XP. Recently, more companies have realized that they can trust Windows 7 PCs to replace their existing hardware. It took some time, but the corporate world is forgetting about Vista. Microsoft should do the same.
2. Consumers are moving on
As the corporate world prepares for the post-Vista world, consumers are following suit. According to Net Applications, Windows 7 now commands about 10 percent of the OS market, putting it within striking distance of Vista's 17 percent share. If Windows 7's growth continues, it could easily surpass Vista later in 2010, making XP the operating system to beat. Assuming those figures continue along the same lines, it's clear that the consumer market is prepared to adopt Windows 7. Microsoft should be happy to hear that.
3. It can't pay indefinitely
Microsoft can't pay for the mistakes it made with Vista forever. Every software company eventually releases a software version that doesn't match expectations. And just because Vista was the first Microsoft release in a long time that didn't adequately satisfy the market's every desire, it can't be expected to pay for it with each release of a new operating system. Vista certainly wasn't an ideal operating system, but Microsoft learned its lesson. It's time to focus solely on Windows 7.
4. Windows 7 is a great OS
Windows 7 is a fine operating system. In fact, it's the operating system that Vista should have been when it was first launched. Unlike its predecessor, Windows 7 suffers few compatibility problems, it's far more secure than any other OS Microsoft has released and it boasts several new features that make it a good choice for consumers and enterprise customers alike. Microsoft shouldn't focus on Vista when it has a fine replacement on store shelves. The past is gone.