Sunday, April 02, 2006

Vista Delays - Best of the Mini-Microsoft Comments

The comments just keep on coming over at Mini-Microsoft, which featured a post entitled, "Vista 2007 - Fire the Leadership Now!". A blistering series of responses -- many from current or former MSFT employees -- pin the blame on Vista's continuing delays to Ballmer, middle management, the coders, outsourcing, the Dalai Lama, and everything in between.

To spare you -- my dear and valued reader -- from having to wade through hundreds of comments, I've highlighted several of the most interesting remarks below. exercising their absolute power, Ballmer and Gates have created a company culture in their own image. One that is renowned for its delusionary arrogance: its self-serving adoration and its reactive petulance. They treat their partners with absolute disdain: encouraging them to invest on their platform to in the attempt to create successful markets, where substantial success will be crushed by a Microsoft imitation that is both cross subsidized from monopoly revenues and often pushed on customers via the OS distribution channel... Comment

I wonder what Eric Sink thinks about that?

Regarding the planned Vista availability for corporations by 12/06 (while consumers must wait 'til '07), another commenter posits:

You guys are missing the point. This is all about software assurance, the MS plan where enterprises buy our s**t in advance.

A boatload of SA plans expire 12/31/2006. Many of these accounts purchased SA under duress, BUT were promised that LH would come out in their 3 yr window.

IF we do not deliver them bits before the end of this year and fulfill our wink-wink SA commitments made by the field, we are toast. They will sue the crap out of us and they WILL win, and we WILL be making a HUGE adjustment to our earnings.

This IS THE ONLY explaination. There is NO OTHER reason for delivering to enterprises early... Comment

Sounds a little odd, because if you sign an SA agreement, it's etched in stone. If MSFT delivers before the SA expires, you're good. If not, you're out in the cold. It's a contract. But what do I know? I'm not a lawyer...

Here's a person who recommends a new strategy to delivering an OS:

It's very simple... the quickest way to get something out the door is to build a proprietary windows desktop ON TOP OF a BSD/GNU underbelly... with your own custom win32 compatibility libraries to run existing wincode on... come on guys... you know it makes sense... Comment

In other words, build subsequent versions of Windows on top of a Posix (UNIX or Linux) core. Indeed. That's something I've advocated for years (e.g., Visual Studio for Linux).

And here's another theory as to why Vista keeps slipping:

...As to why Vista's a trainwreck? I think it's API and Feature-itis. The alphabet soup of hardware requirements + reluctance to ditch things (why is PS/2 still on mobos, really?) + the mess of RPC/MAPI/COM/OLE/OLEDB/VB/VB.NET/.NET 1.0/.NET 1.1/DTC/COM+/WPF/WPF-E/Windows Forms/etc. 86 different technologies to do the Exact. Same. Thing., all of which become their own unique source of bugs and security holes, making matrices completely impossible to test adequately (and add to that the insistence that the Magical Automation Fairy, immense gates that stop code checkins and burden people with process, and outsourcing to India and Beijing will solve all our testing problems)... Comment

Here's someone affiliated with BestBuy who thinks the Vista delay is a good thing. And not for the reason you might expect.

...With the beastly requirements Vista has, what percentage of people who buy a computer today is seriously even going to be capable of running Vista without heavy upgrades?

I work as a service agent at Best Buy's Geek Squad. Now and then a customer asks me if the computer they're buying will support the next generation operating system. Because of Vista's huge requirements, I've been telling them "probably not without massive upgrades."

The system requirements I'm hearing for Vista are ridiculous. 2+ GIGABYTES OF MEMORY in order to have a gaming experience on par with 512mb on XP. HIGH END 3D ACCELERATOR required in order to have all the nifty new look and feel that Vista has, so you can count out the majority of laptops that only come equipped with those pitiful on-board i845, i915, and S3 chipsets, or name brand PCs built without AGP or PCIe slots.

Thus, I'm glad that Vista's release date misses the Back-to-School and Christmas rushes. I'm glad that less people will be buying the boxed versions hoping to install it on their older computers.

It means less customers will leave my precinct p***ed off because I had to tell them that the copy of Vista they bought (and are unable to return) won't work on anything less than a top-end PC bought in winter 2005, or a top end laptop bought in summer 2006... Comment

For a "Windows veteran but no longer an employee", it all seems like back to the future:

...In the mid-90's was a 3 year project called "Cairo" led by Jim that had around 150-200 head count. It was managed similar to Vista: pie in the sky technology with little focus on reality. After 3 years it was cancelled because it was dysfunctional - it couldn't move forward, couldn't focus on shipping. After that spectacular flop Jim was promoted to senior VP immediately afterwards. No accountability, and I think no understanding from above of the problem. I've been watching the Vista saga unfold, being reminded along the way of Cairo. Pie in the sky technology, inability to focus, and when it fails, no accountability. Sounds very familiar, just this time it's on a scale over 10x larger and much more important to the company... Comment

There you have it. And you thought everything was sweetness and light within the hallowed halls of Redmond.

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