There’s an okay-ish review of Windows Vista by Lev Grossman up on Time‘s site. Grossman’s article is less a review of Vista and more an acknowledgment of the pervasive apathy that surrounds Vista’s launch. Why doesn’t anyone care? Grossman covers the major reasons. No one wants to buy two more sticks of RAM and an ATI Radeon card just to get their Windows (and its windows) to look pretty. Casual consumers might be put off by the fourteen versions of Vista available. The biggest factor, as Grossman acknowledges, is that Vista is an improvement over XP, but not by much. He largely plays it neutral in regards to the Vista/Mac OS comparison, but tellingly, he calls Vista’s long delays and huge development costs “an embarrassment to the good name of American innovation.” Contrast with “Apple is the New NASA“.
Me personally? I think Microsoft’s biggest problem is that it has become its own worst competition. There are, in my opinion, only two must-have upgrades in Microsoft’s recent history: Windows 3.11 to Windows 95, and Windows 95 (or 98, 98 Service Pack 2, or God help you, Millennium) to Windows XP. Whereas I was dying to upgrade to XP in October of 2001, I feel no similar urge with Vista. XP really is quite enough for me, at least for the foreseeable future. In the unforeseeable future, I’m almost certainly switching to the Mac (one version that is both user-friendly on the surface and power-user cooperative at the Terminal, beautifully designed, tightly integrated, etc etc etc you’ve heard this all before).
Story time. The tech department at my job recently sent out an e-mail stating that they would provide a free upgrade from Office 2000 to 2003 for any department that requested it. As the department computer god, I was consulted as to whether this would be a good thing or not. My general opinion was that for our purposes, Office 2003 offered one, maybe two minor advantages over 2000, and since our data manager uses Office 2000 from home, it probably wouldn’t be worth the risk of compatibility issues. Let’s also note that the tech department offered the upgrade to Office 2003 in 2007. Clearly, it’s not a must-have.
And that’s the deal. Microsoft can’t compete with itself. There’s just no good reason to upgrade to a new version Office (alright, Powerpoint 2007 maybe), and certainly no good reason to rush out and strain my hardware for Vista.