Can Microsoft juggle three operating systems?

Microsoft's tricky balancing act in 2009 will be to phase out Windows XP while boosting demand for Windows Vista and building anticipation for Windows 7. Compounding this challenge is that Vista has been Microsoft's most embattled operating system, and though recent reports say that Vista has improved over the past year, there are also reports of a growing indifference from users.

Many are sticking with Windows XP for now (or even requesting to "downgrade" to XP with new computer purchases) with the hope that Windows 7 will be more nimble and efficient than Vista.

With the RTM release of Internet Explorer 8 and the possible release of Windows 7 happening in 2009, plus Microsoft's aggressive push into cloud computing with the Windows Azure operating system, the coming year looks to be a pivotal one for the software giant. Gartner analyst Michael Silver expects that Microsoft will try to differentiate Windows 7 from Vista by keeping ship date hype to a minimum and then delivering earlier than anticipated.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Rumor: New Mac Mini coming to Macworld 2009

Next Story

Asus Eee Box B203 gets Celeron power

48 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Hate to tell you this, but we still need the updates for Windows 2000.

There are plenty of people who will go on using Windows 2000 for a long time, so I make that

1) Win2000
2) WinXP
3) Win2K3
4) WinVista
5) Win2008
6) Win7

6 O\S's, possibly more when you count 64 bit versions. When exploits are found, they always seem to be in all O/S's.

Microsoft will have already brought developing of Vista to a stand-still, unless you consider Windows 7 Vista development. Microsoft are now in deep ****, their latest O/S is universally unpopular (two PC I bought with Vista Home Premium now both run XP). Windows 7 is going to be based on Vista, so is going to distract them further down a blind alley. Their Office suite is now showing not to be backwardly compatible. Product activation and the Genuine Advantage program p1ssing customers off in spades.

Microsoft have turned into their worst nightmare IBM!

It can be easily argued that you have to draw the line somewhere. There comes a point when you need to stop worrying about everything working with the old stuff, which is a problem for Microsoft because they try to support old software. There comes a point when you have to build a piece of software that may not be fully compatible with previous versions, because if you don't, you're restricting yourself from building the best possible piece of software with the newest features. You can't continuously worry about the past, but instead, should worry about building a strong foundation for software and compatibility from the now and into the future.

toadeater said,
Why would anyone want to use Vista after 7 is out? XP will probably still be around for years to come.

That's not really surprising - XP was out a lot longer, and will be the better choice for older hardware for a while (especially with the booming markets in less developed countries).

Once Win7 is out, obviously Vista won't be sold any more - there's just no reason for it. It's built off Vista, so there won't be compatibility problems. However, that doesn't discount all the millions of pre-existing Vista installs. It's not like they will magically become Win7.

After using Vista I don't think I could turn back. Granted, I have a pretty good machine (8GB of ram, 2.67 ghz quad core, Radeon 4850 512MB video card), but I feel that Vista definitely laid a great foundation for Windows 7 to build upon.

Sure, Vista might not be a release that everyone can appreciate, but where Vista really shines I think is in it's 64 bit release. I think Vista runs better than XP if you have a good rig (largely because of superfetch). Support for drivers and apps have been great. There isn't ONE program that won't run on my rig (well any 32 or 64 bit app).

I think Windows 7 will continue building upon Vista by making it more user-friendly, speeding it up, and re-branding itself into something more people can appreciate and use.

I tried vista twice on my new PC with integrated RAID on an ASUS mainboard, first without SP1 and with SP1 and always the same problem with my RAID array, so i lost data twice... i had no important data on the pc anyway, but it constantly gave me blue screens about disk erros and disk missing. I had the latest drivers but it didn't help. Back to XP, everything works like a charm.

WAR-DOG said,
I tried vista twice on my new PC with integrated RAID on an ASUS mainboard, first without SP1 and with SP1 and always the same problem with my RAID array, so i lost data twice... i had no important data on the pc anyway, but it constantly gave me blue screens about disk erros and disk missing. I had the latest drivers but it didn't help. Back to XP, everything works like a charm.

That sounds like extremely dodgy Vista drivers from ASUS if you ask me.

People are scared of Vista because they are listening to the negative comments and never tried it for themselves. I held of on Vista for a while because of the same reasons. Then I got several free copies of the Business version from work and installed it. I like it and it runs really well even on a few systems that are not even rated "Vista Compatible" People loved Mojave and when they learned Mojave was Vista, they were shocked. If MS would change the vista GUI a little and call it Windows 7, it would sell a ton of copies. But like Windows ME, MS will come back and produce another great OS. No company releases software that good or accepted every single time.

Windows XP is a good OS and a lot of corporations still use XP. Cutting of support for XP now would be a bad move for MS.

Aside from a lot of other problems with Vista, believe that the main point of frustration for most users was the lack of driver support. Speaking from experience, upgrading my barely two year old computer from Windows XP Pro to Vista Ultimate was an absolute nightmare. Needless to say, in the end, the upgrade never worked, and we ended up having to purchase a new (supported) DVD drive. Since Windows 7 will support the same driver sets as Vista, believe that the transition should be much smoother. With Vista and Windows 7 both on the market at the same time, and with the decline of Windows XP inevitable, manufacturers will have no other recourse but to finally start making drivers for the current operating systems. In other words, Microsoft needs to kill off XP as quickly as possible; with Vista shortly to follow.

The driver support annoyed me, but I learned to deal with it eventually. Although performance isn't great on my Core 2 Duo machine, I have it on a laptop with a Centrino 1.7GHz, 2GB RAM, 100GB hard drive and a Geforce FX Go5200 and it runs sweetly.
Enthusiasts will go with Windows 7 right away. I would guess that most normal users will skip over Vista and go with Windows 7. The very casual user won't even bother moving from XP as it's everything they need.

I don't see why Microsoft will need to juggle 3 OS's, but it won't be an issue for them to do so as XP is so well established, Vista is getting better with patches and Windows 7 is already getting glowing reviews and it's only in it's first beta!

badblood said,
The driver support annoyed me, but I learned to deal with it eventually. Although performance isn't great on my Core 2 Duo machine, I have it on a laptop with a Centrino 1.7GHz, 2GB RAM, 100GB hard drive and a Geforce FX Go5200 and it runs sweetly.
Enthusiasts will go with Windows 7 right away. I would guess that most normal users will skip over Vista and go with Windows 7. The very casual user won't even bother moving from XP as it's everything they need.

I don't see why Microsoft will need to juggle 3 OS's, but it won't be an issue for them to do so as XP is so well established, Vista is getting better with patches and Windows 7 is already getting glowing reviews and it's only in it's first beta!

My computer has Pentium 4HT , 1.5 GB RAM and integrated ATI RADEON graphics card ; Vista Ultimate works perfectly on it , for general use and casual games. To keep Vista fast you need to tinker with it such as removing unnecessary services and startup programs such as Apple Mobile Support and other crap, and of course keep the registry clean and defragment periodically.

bradsday said,
Microsoft needs to kill off XP as quickly as possible


What is it that you want MS to do. They stop selling XP. The program that allow an upgrade to XP Pro is ending soon. What else should they do ?

Vezineth said,
My computer has Pentium 4HT , 1.5 GB RAM and integrated ATI RADEON graphics card ; Vista Ultimate works perfectly on it , for general use and casual games. To keep Vista fast you need to tinker with it such as removing unnecessary services and startup programs such as Apple Mobile Support and other crap, and of course keep the registry clean and defragment periodically.

Registry clean: no. Registry "clutter" will not slow your PC. Useless programs will.
Defrag regularly: no. Vista does that continuously. A dedicated defrag will make little difference.
Tinkering with the services: maybe. But a little dangerous.
Cleanup startup programs: definitely. Don't install crap on your PC :)

Besides that, my old PC was a similar spec and also ran Ultimate pretty well. Only had 1GB, which was the main stumbling block (not because Vista used it all, but because it's not enough for many of my games anyway).

Kirkburn said,
Registry clean: no. Registry "clutter" will not slow your PC. Useless programs will.
Defrag regularly: no. Vista does that continuously. A dedicated defrag will make little difference.
Tinkering with the services: maybe. But a little dangerous.
Cleanup startup programs: definitely. Don't install crap on your PC :)

Besides that, my old PC was a similar spec and also ran Ultimate pretty well. Only had 1GB, which was the main stumbling block (not because Vista used it all, but because it's not enough for many of my games anyway).

I have only three startup programs. I use Tuneup 2009 to maintain and defrag the registry, which does speed up the PC, and I use Smart Defrag to defrag obviously.

The built in Vista defragmenter is crap and will waste your computer resources to achieve nothing.

Vezineth said,
I have only three startup programs. I use Tuneup 2009 to maintain and defrag the registry, which does speed up the PC, and I use Smart Defrag to defrag obviously.

The built in Vista defragmenter is crap and will waste your computer resources to achieve nothing.


I did say "little" difference, not none :P The in-built defrag seems okay to me, though it doesn't give a lot of feedback. For most people's purposes it's fine, and it certainly doesn't "achieve nothing". If you want that extra bit of speed, sure - but it's not going to be a lot.

bradsday said,
Needless to say, in the end, the upgrade never worked, and we ended up having to purchase a new (supported) DVD drive.

Since when have DVD drives needed drivers? DVD and CD drives have conformed to a standard, and therefore need no special drivers for MANY years. If you had a drive that needed drivers, then it was the drive at fault, not Vista.

TCLN Ryster said,
Since when have DVD drives needed drivers? DVD and CD drives have conformed to a standard, and therefore need no special drivers for MANY years. If you had a drive that needed drivers, then it was the drive at fault, not Vista.


The drive in question was a NES drive, and the problem was not a software driver per say, but rather a firmware issue. Though the drive was supported in Windows XP Pro, it was not recognized with Vista Ultimate. For that particular model it is a known problem, that NES refuses to address. Their site notes discontinued support for legacy products. What really drove home the issue was that the drive was used to install the upgrade, only to turn around and not be operational. In the end, had to simply replace the drive, but it was frustrating all the same. The system in question is a Dell XPS (Gen 5), less than two years old.

As far as it not being the fault of Vista. The same argument could be used for every piece of hardware used by every system. Microsoft creates and markets software (and a few select pieces of hardware), so guess with that argument, they are not held responsible if the manufacturers do not create drivers or support for "their" hardware.

Complete rubbish. Microsoft should have either worked more closely with the hardware manufacturers to ensure standard compliance, or taken it upon themselves to create compatible generic drivers. They did neither (or at least inadequetly), and the result of which has been a nightmare for both Microsoft and the customer.

My upgrade from Windows XP Pro to Vista Ultimate was one of the worst experiences of my life. It literally took three weeks, and in the end, never did get the system to upgrade, but rather had to do a fresh install (completely contrary to the point of buying an upgrade). To add insult to injury, the (unintelligible) Microsoft support representative was of absolutely no assistance.

I think Windows ME was more "embattled" than Vista. Vistas main fight is to break the many years of comfortable usage with XP, that no other version of Windows had to compete with. No other Windows had to break such a tradition, the fact Vista is infact doing well in such a climate only shows how strong it really is.

Under the current economic crisis, to stick with XP seem the best option, Vista is out of discussion and 7 is just a relabeled Vista.

Magallanes said,
Under the current economic crisis, to stick with XP seem the best option, Vista is out of discussion and 7 is just a relabeled Vista.

Ignoring the trash you speak at the end of that sentence, that doesn't make sense for a new PC buyer. Upgrades are not most of the market, new PCs are. XP is more expensive to get than Vista. So, no.

Isnt the Mojave Project helping at all ? It at least had a good start.
Now that all the hardware companies are making drivers for Vista , Microsoft can claim Vista is better at hardware management which should convine most companies to upgrade their computers.

Vezineth said,
Isnt the Mojave Project helping at all ? It at least had a good start.
Now that all the hardware companies are making drivers for Vista , Microsoft can claim Vista is better at hardware management which should convine most companies to upgrade their computers.


The Mojave Project is just silly in my opinion. I mean, whose idea was it to trick consumers into "discovering" how Vista is through false representation? Of course Vista works wonderfully on machines that have been specifically built to run it. In my opinion, this "project" was yet another Microsoft marketing disaster. They should have spent their time and money simply showcasing Vista, rather than deceiving the public. It just makes them look more untrustworthy, and like they were blatantly covering up for the shortcomings in Vista. A positive campaign would have been more effectifve.

bradsday said,
The Mojave Project is just silly in my opinion. I mean, whose idea was it to trick consumers into "discovering" how Vista is through false representation? Of course Vista works wonderfully on machines that have been specifically built to run it. In my opinion, this "project" was yet another Microsoft marketing disaster. They should have spent their time and money simply showcasing Vista, rather than deceiving the public. It just makes them look more untrustworthy, and like they were blatantly covering up for the shortcomings in Vista. A positive campaign would have been more effectifve.

A "marketing disaster"? "Deceiving the public"? What on earth are machines "specifically built to run Vista"? You mean any PC built in the last several years?

It's not Microsoft who's talking rubbish here...

Kirkburn said,
A "marketing disaster"? "Deceiving the public"? What on earth are machines "specifically built to run Vista"? You mean any PC built in the last several years?

It's not Microsoft who's talking rubbish here...


+1 Agreed.

The vast majority of the negative hype over Vista is all word of mouth and has absolutely nothing to do with personal experience of the product. The Mojave Project aims to correct that misrepresentation of Vista by showing users what Vista is and what Vista can do without them knowing it's Vista. It genius.

Microsoft doesn't need to juggle 3, it just needs to drop the oldest one, XP. People are sticking with Windows XP to a greater extent than normal because of all the negative publicity that originally came out with Vista and the flaming along with it. My dad, for example, said he never would put Vista on his new computer (when he gets it) cause "it's a piece of junk!" How much time has he spent using Vista? 0:00. Why is he so against it? Because he believed all the bad press. And like many people, they stick with XP because it's comfortable, it's something they know and are familiar with, while Vista is sleek and new and therefore strange and something to avoid. Vista has fixed it's initial glitches and problems, but unfortunately there's still plenty of FUD to go around about it.

Yeah there's definitely a lot of FUD around Vista. That said Windows 7 seems to be getting a lot of good publicity and Microsoft seem to be handling its development a lot better than Longhorn

creamhackered said,
Yeah there's definitely a lot of FUD around Vista. That said Windows 7 seems to be getting a lot of good publicity and Microsoft seem to be handling its development a lot better than Longhorn

+1

Vista still has wireless networking issues, though they've made it somewhat more reliable.

As far as my dad and his aversion to Vista...

The company he works for decided to migrate, but didn't bother upgrading the 5 year old computers, nor did they bother lightening up Vista. Infact, they left aero running, and no way to shut it off. There is actually lag in office, and when you have to wade through gigabytes of database tables that lag gets pretty intense.

Considering he uses an older computer at home, his avoidance of vista makes sense. In his case, getting ****y about vista is kind of like kicking a tire when the car breaks down.

devHead said,
Microsoft doesn't need to juggle 3,


That's right.

devHead said,
it just needs to drop the oldest one, XP.


Wrong. They need to drop Vista. It is irrelevent if Vista is good or not. Nobody wants it. Whatever the reason is, valid or not. Nobody wants it.

MS need to make Win 7 work the way the people wants it to work, not the way some engineer think it should work. If they manage to get this done, Vista will only be a bad memory in a very short time. If they don't MS will be the bad memory in 10 years from now.

Captain555 said,
Wrong. They need to drop Vista. It is irrelevent if Vista is good or not. Nobody wants it. Whatever the reason is, valid or not. Nobody wants it.

And you actually believe what you say? That is so far gone, it's hard to believe a sane person could type it.

Here's how I can simply and quickly destroy your argument: I prefer Vista.

Also, no, the way people want it to work is not always the best way. For one, unless those people are well versed in security matters, it would be a very silly idea indeed.

Kirkburn said,
And you actually believe what you say? That is so far gone, it's hard to believe a sane person could type it.

Here's how I can simply and quickly destroy your argument: I prefer Vista.


In case you missed it before: I'm a computer builder. In the almost 2 years since Vista was released, I've sold hundred and hundred of PCs. So far I've sold one copy of Vista Home Premium to a gamer who wanted it for Direct X10. That's it. Nobody wants it.

You prefer it, probably because you have your head in the sand. I found that people strongly defending Vista, just don't want to hear any of the argument against it. They choose to like Vista against common sense.

Kirkburn said,
Also, no, the way people want it to work is not always the best way. For one, unless those people are well versed in security matters, it would be a very silly idea indeed.


You need a few marketing course.

Captain555 said,
Nobody wants it. Whatever the reason is, valid or not. Nobody wants it.

I use it, like it, and want it.

No my head is not in the sand or anywhere else but squarely on my shoulders. I have Vista Ultimate 64 bit running and it's great, no issues that are the fault of the OS. (Call of Duty: World at War appears to be a facelift duct-taped to CoD4: Modern Warfare)

Try not insulting people and recognize that there are some out there who like what you adamantly detest.

You're opinion is that Vista is garbage, mine (and apparently it's similar to some other posters) is that it's good. It deserves a chance, but it barely got one because completely bashing it's early stumbles in a grand manner generated hits to blogs. Since it's release, it's improved considerably, I can't deny that.

Continue hating it, that's cool. You may lump this in with failures like WinME, but I can't because my experience has been a very positive one.

zeke009 said,
Try not insulting people and recognize that there are some out there who like what you adamantly detest.


You have to take the emotions out of the debate. I don't hate Vista and I don't love XP. They are not person. I'm actually pretty neutral on the subject. I'm just calling what I see.

What I see is 2 PCs in my showroom, one next to the other, identical hardware, same configuration. One has XP Home, the other Vista Basic. I let people make their own choice. The Vista is noticeably slower than the XP one. And yes, I did a few tweak to speed it up. But, still slower.

I actually installed a little game that came free on a USB flash drive. Nothing fancy. Big Fish Atlantis. The game play faster under XP than it does under Vista.

That Vista PC is dormant inventory, so I try to cut the price down a few times. I'm ready to sell it at cost if I have to. Still, nobody wants it.

In case you care, both PCs have an Asus Mobo M2N-MX SE with a GeForce 6150, 2 Gigs of DDR2-667, a dual-core Athlon 3800+ and a SATA2 of 160 Gigs. No crapware.

Captain555, whatever your personal experiences, that does not invalidate other people's.

If you're telling us no-one wants Vista, yet we're telling you we do want it ... well, who's correct?

As for me needing a marketing course - I'm fine thanks. My point is, what people "want" is not necessarily what they, or the product, "needs". People might want a single button to do very complex tasks - but they aren't going to get it, and to make it happen might result in security problems (case in point, turning off UAC). Fwiw, I'm a product manager.

Captain555 said,
The Vista is noticeably slower than the XP one. And yes, I did a few tweak to speed it up. But, still slower.

And what the hell do you expect then? The older OS will always run better because it was built for older, slower hardware. If you want performance, WHY DON'T YOU GIVE THE CUSTOMERS WINDOWS 2000?

It'll run alot faster than Vista, I'll give you that! You see, Vista was made for new computers of this generation. XP was made for computers of 8 years ago.

Now answer truthfully, didn't Windows XP run slowly and lag on that generation of computers upon launch just as Vista did? XP recieved the same treatment that Vista did: It was bloated, unneeded graphicals, ran slow.

If Microfail didn't announce Windows Shi- I mean, Seven so soon, people would've learned to embrace Vista, just as they did Windows XP.

The point is, if we stay with the same old outdated 8 year old crap (XP) for the next 20 years, we would have ultra-omega-hyper-sonic fast computers, yet NOTHING TO UTILIZE THEM. /gasp

Kirkburn said,
Fwiw, I'm a product manager.


But there you go. You're looking at from a technical point of view as a product manager.

When I say give the customer what they want, I'm talking marketing wise. And if you don't understand the difference is, that's where the marketing course come in.

Recon415 said,
It'll run alot faster than Vista, I'll give you that! You see, Vista was made for new computers of this generation. XP was made for computers of 8 years ago.


Finally somebody who is admitting the truth. Your argument is self defeating though.

Recon415 said,
The point is, if we stay with the same old outdated 8 year old crap (XP) for the next 20 years, we would have ultra-omega-hyper-sonic fast computers, yet NOTHING TO UTILIZE THEM. /gasp


You mean surfing the net, make a payment at the bank, send e-mail to family, send a picture of the kid to the grand-parent, write a resume. Is that what you mean ? I'm not sure, but I think XP does all of that.

Captain555 said,
But there you go. You're looking at from a technical point of view as a product manager.

When I say give the customer what they want, I'm talking marketing wise. And if you don't understand the difference is, that's where the marketing course come in.


Do you think product managers don't interact with the community they're giving the product to? Often their job is not quite so limited, and mine certainly isn't :P

Kirkburn said,
Do you think product managers don't interact with the community they're giving the product to? Often their job is not quite so limited, and mine certainly isn't :P


Never implied that.

Dropping XP would be suicide, as good as Vista is and as much as common sense says to ditch XP, I think if MS did they'd get a huge back-lash from customers. Just look at the stink they created when even the slightest hint of XP been dropped came up? It doesn't matter how good Vista actually is, the damage is already done. The average consumer thinks it's a steaming pile of #%@ and won't touch it with a barge pole, it doesn't matter that it's all FUD because as I said before the damage is done (I'm a big Vista fan, using it exclusively, but I've given up trying to convince people Vista is actually good - it's that bad). That is my 2 cents, take with a grain of salt.

Captain555 said,


In case you missed it before: I'm a computer builder. In the almost 2 years since Vista was released, I've sold hundred and hundred of PCs. So far I've sold one copy of Vista Home Premium to a gamer who wanted it for Direct X10. That's it. Nobody wants it.

Out of the 1000+ systems I have built this year I have installed XP on about five computer the rest were Vista. So I would say you are pushing your customers into an out dated obsolete dead OS just because you do not like Vista. Since that time I have installed Vista in 2 of those five after they had a chance to try Vista themselves.

bryonhowley said,
Out of the 1000+ systems I have built this year I have installed XP on about five computer the rest were Vista. So I would say you are pushing your customers into an out dated obsolete dead OS just because you do not like Vista. Since that time I have installed Vista in 2 of those five after they had a chance to try Vista themselves.


I don't push anybody. They ask for it.

You say "out dated obsolete dead OS", I say XP is a well seasoned mature OS that is a lot more reliable and stable than Vista.

Captain555 said,
I don't push anybody. They ask for it.

You say "out dated obsolete dead OS", I say XP is a well seasoned mature OS that is a lot more reliable and stable than Vista.


What is your customer base? Most average joe users are easily influenced by people with more knowledge about computers. You are probably saying something in your attitude, word-choice, and marketing that convinces the people to go with the older system.

How many customers ask you to explain which is different between the XP and Vista computer? How do you price them? What is your answers to them? What is your tone when you explain it?

Captain555 said,

In case you missed it before: I'm a computer builder. In the almost 2 years since Vista was released, I've sold hundred and hundred of PCs. So far I've sold one copy of Vista Home Premium to a gamer who wanted it for Direct X10. That's it. Nobody wants it.

You prefer it, probably because you have your head in the sand. I found that people strongly defending Vista, just don't want to hear any of the argument against it. They choose to like Vista against common sense.

You need a few marketing course.

You might want some marketing courses. The upgraded security, and vista's enforcing of file permissions is extremely attractive to corporate and education institutions and most people who get a new Computer end up with vista on it anyway. Most people don't know what vista is or what how it is different. On the other hand Windows 7 will be nearly identical to Vista it simply won't have the name.