Ballmer Defends Windows Vista

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."