The next-generation of Windows just keeps sounding better and better.
It turns out I literally cant buy a system today that will run Vista successfully this time next year.
What is Microsoft thinking?
While Im sure the accountants at Dell, HP and Gateway (or not) are eagerly looking forward to this new revolution in software, Im none too sure that any other businesses are going to be excited.
I have seen the future of PC graphics, and let me tell you, its not Aero Glass.
Its displaying right now via my Mac Minis Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.3s Core Image. Oh, I know Microsoft will say how much more wonderful and transparent Aero Glass will be than OS X.
Theres also one big difference. I can run Tiger today.
I also expect Ill see Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) running on Intel platforms, with todays technology, before Aero running on any technology.
I know, I know. I will be able to run Vista, with an XP-like display. OK, so explain to me why I should upgrade my operating system if its not going to really give me a better experience than Im currently seeing?
Of course, I could buy a new system in late 2006. Since I make my living on technologys bleeding edge, Ill doubtlessly do just that.
Im not everyone, though. And, Im certainly not an enterprise that needs to look at replacing from hundreds to tens of thousands of PCs.
While the economy has been getting better, I find it hard to imagine any CIO, or these days much more likely a companys CFO, being able to justify that kind of purchase.
First, there will be the cost of the operating system itself. That wont be insignificant.
Then, on top of that, I have to replace PCs, not just with generic PCs, but PCs with cutting-edge 2007 graphic cards?
Im no accountant, but that sounds like a heck of a lot of money to me.
And, what do I get? An operating system that will also almost certainly require me to upgrade all my staffs software. And, I havent even mentioned the installation, training and integration costs.
I get the wallet heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.
Of course, the staff will have pretty, transparent windows to look at. Im not sure that if I were a CFO, that would be enough for me.
Listen, if I want the best in graphics, today or tomorrow, Im sticking with the undisputed champ: Apple and Mac OS X.
Maybe, just maybe, Microsoft can finally unseat Apple. Of course, the Vikings might still win the Super Bowl this season, but thats not the way to bet.
If I want a safer, more stable system on affordable hardware, or better still my existing legacy hardware, Ill get a solid business Linux like SuSE 10.
It comes as no surprise to anyone who reads my columns that Im no fan of Windows. But, putting that aside, I really cant think of a good reason for a business to upgrade to Vista until, say, 2008.
By then, hardware costs should have dropped enough that if you really must have Windows, the upfront costs should be low enough to make the upgrade cost justifiable.
If you can think of a good, sound business reason to upgrade before then—besides increasing Microsoft stockholders dividends—Id love to hear it.