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Microsoft admits "Vista was a less good product"

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By Stuart Turton

Posted on 17 Sep 2009 at 09:14

A Microsoft exec has admitted that "Vista was a less good product", as the launch of Windows 7 looms.

The oddly phrased comment came during an investor webcast, when Charles Songhurst, Microsoft's general manager of corporate strategy, was asked how Vista had affected the company's fortunes.

"What people underestimate is the importance of good or bad products," said Songhurst. "And sometimes your products are good, sometimes the products are bad. And I think Vista was a less good product for Microsoft."

When it's the bad products, you lose pricing power, you have a natural tendency to lose share, and your ecosystem weakens

Presumably, that means Windows 7 is more good - thankfully, he didn't phrase it that way: "Windows 7 is an extremely good product from Microsoft. It's been brilliantly developed, and I think people probably underestimate the effects of the bad products and the good products."

"When it's the bad products, you lose pricing power, you have a natural tendency to lose share, and your ecosystem weakens. When you have a good product, you gain share, you gain pricing power, and ecosystem strengthens. And 7 is one of the best products we've had in a long time," he added, tellingly.

The veiled criticism is about as close as Microsoft has come to openly criticising Vista, which was demonised by critics for its speed, size and compatibility issues.

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User comments

It's a good less bad news then, innit?

By Josefov on 17 Sep 2009

Err, Windows 7 is Vista with a a few changes - such as tweaks to the defrag and the UI. The same annoyances, problems and obstructions are still present and continue to cause annoyance.

It is no better.

By bubbles16 on 17 Sep 2009

Win 7 is much better

I've been impressed with Windows 7 from the early beta stages. It feels much snappier, much more stable and above all a more mature product.

Windows 7 is definitely what Vista should have been. Microsoft have learnt from some of their mistakes, but they still have a long way to go.

I can see I will be buying a copy of Windows 7 at some point when it's in general release, as it will replace XP as my secondary operating system (i'm sticking with OS X as my primary!)

By hjlupton on 17 Sep 2009

I totally disagree with you Bubbles16. I can only assume you've not actually used the RC of Win7. It's a huge improvement over Vista and feels like a new OS with regards to performance.

Your comment of it effectively being Vista is actually an advantage, by using the same core as Vista it ensures hardware compatibility, if a driver works under Vista, it works under 7, period. We have been throwing all of the various pieces of hardware our users require at 7 and are yet to find any problems and believe me some of these are quite obscure compared to typical business and home users.

By skarlock on 17 Sep 2009

I still use an old palmtop as my diary and event manager, plus other things too. It talks to my laptop through IR, this worked well in XP but doesn't for some reason work in Win 7.
Win 7 reports the IR port as enabled and working properly, however it doesn't detect my palm - XP did that automatically.

Win 7 is nice - and I quite like the RC, but it does have problems which I have encountered - some I can live with and accept, but this one means having to rewrite software or changing the way I work. XP works for me without complicating things. Win 7 introduces a whole new range of solutions as well as problems.
So I have yet to make my final decision. Luckily I have an XP box to work on too.

By nicomo on 17 Sep 2009

Windows 7 is NOT Vista!

Sitting here using it, I can state CATEGORICALLY for a FACT, Windows 7 is NOTHING like Vista.

For a start it uses less RAM. It is far more resposive, boots quicker, runs games better and so on (try reading some performance comparisons).

Vista was unoptimised bloatware with no redeming features other than 64bit support.

I jumped onto Windows 7 like a trout to a fly and have no regrets at all.

From a business point of view, I am WAY more productive, as I can now run more Virtual PC's at the same time (dev, test, support) and they can go full screen and back with a mouse-click (no more RIGHT-ALT-CTL-DEL etc.) and the new VPC is more responsive and supports USB.

Vista is to Windows 7 what Windows ME was to XP.

If you didn't try the RC while it was free, you missed out.

Luckily as MSDN subscribers, we get Windows 7 RTM.

I've had no problems with iTunes, Adobe Digital Editions (for my eBook), Visual Studio (that had real issues with MapPoint under Vista) - all of our legacy apps have worked with Win7 so far.

Windows 7 IS what Vista was promised to be.

What "Problems and obstructions" are you talking about Bubbles? If you mean the UAC, turn it down using the slider-bar.

By cheysuli on 17 Sep 2009

Bubbles has clearly either not used it or has had a non-typical experience. "Tweaks to the defrag"??

Just installing either into the constrained environment of a virtual machine shows that Win 7 is much higher performing in every respect; this was even the case for the Beta release.

I can't wait to get Vista off my PC for good and replace it with Win 7. The case for banishing XP to a virtual machine for wheeling out only when necessary, but without leaving a newer Windows environment is also now much stronger.

By halsteadk on 17 Sep 2009

Whoa there !

Ummm... Windows 7 is quite a lot like Vista. But is faster, and UAC seems to infinitely less annoying ("Watch out! It looks like you're abouut to sneeze- are you sure you want to do that ?"). I noticed that W7 has- apparently- popped up on our volume licensing site already so I'm happily using it as my main machine (VM) and on my laptop, and it's really good.

By Rhidney on 17 Sep 2009

What will OSX users complain about now?

"Bubbles" seems to be trotting out the standard Apple fan-boy line of "it's just Vista with a few tweaks". It seems to be the only criticism they've managed to muster in the face of Windows 7.

Sorry guys, you've had you're brief time in the sun while Vista was the current Windows OS, time to go back to your usual place in the scheme of things.

By Lacrobat on 17 Sep 2009

Can I have my money back then for the less good product

"less good!" what the heck...
They should use the accepted euphemism of

"Not fit for purpose!"

George Orwell eat your heart out.

By gfmoore on 17 Sep 2009

Yes and no..

Win7 is undoubtedly a huge improvement on Vista.

That said, for XP users it still means learning a new -and IMHO desperately unergonomic- GUI, and getting used to a whole range of new quirks and idiosyncrasies which aren't apparent at first sight.

In view of these issues, I don't see any pressing reason for 2000/XP users to change to it. Vista users, yes, for them it's only good news.

By Anteaus on 17 Sep 2009

Sticking with XP is not the answer

Most new hardware and software being manufactured is optimised for Vista / Windows 7. "Regrading" a new PC to XP can be a nightmare. Most business PC manufacturers offer XP support since this is what ~90%+ of business users want. However PCs aimed at the home market are Vista only and manufacturers such as Acer do not even offer XP driver software.
In addition there are good bits to Windows 7 and it will perform well on all modern hardware.
Sadly I have a number of Acer PCs and it seems to be Acer's policy not to offer any ongoing upgrades to drivers or system software after initial machine release.

By milliganp on 19 Sep 2009

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