Friday, 14 November 2008

Microsoft does NOT get it

Following up on my last post, I need to clarify something.

I myself do not hate Vista, (I'm using it right now, on my home computer.) It's not a great OS, but it's not a horrible one either (like Windows ME was, that was horrid). But that's the main point behind Vista rejection in the corporate world.

Vista offers no real advantage to corporate networks at all. There is not a single fundamental reason why a corporation should upgrade to Vista. There's more reasons why a corporation shouldn't.

Start with application compatibility - The time to test all of the programs essential to company operations to ensure they still work is a cost without benefit. If Windows XP does the job, why replace it with Vista? Then there are the many differences between Vista and XP. To illustrate the impact that change means, here's a quote from an article I linked to a few months back:

you have to realize that people that work in a corporate or government IT dept are used to dealing with standardized hardware and software configurations and being in total control over the goings on of their network. We know the hardware and software inside and out. We are in control of the inventory, we know what types of printers we have, and know what the most common problems are that occur with our standardized hardware and software. We like to be in control.

Upgrading to Vista means we lose that control. Everything we have learned about XP is thrown out and we have to start all over again. OS replacements means reinventing the support wheel again and again. That much work must provide some sort of benefit.

But Vista offers no benefits. When you add that it runs slower than Windows XP and requires newer hardware, companies ask, "what's the point?" When Microsoft pushed to end XP support and force companies to upgrade to Vista, the corporate world pushed back, and pushed hard. It was a collective "fuck you" from all the IT departments. It was change for the sake of change, to drive Microsoft sales. But it offered no benefit to the corporate consumer.

The thing is, Windows 2000 (and in many cases, Windows NT before that) did everything that corporations required. Upgrading to Windows XP from 2000 really wasn't worth it. Microsoft made us do it by refusing to release bug fixes and security patches. Many of us are still annoyed about that forced upgrade.

What Microsoft does not realize is, corporations value stability over functionality. Functionality can be outsourced and developed after the fact. Functionality can always be added on later. We require a stable and secure OS that we can count on to run our companies on.

What Microsoft needs to do, is stop adding features and glitz and glamour to its operating systems. It needs to start stripping stuff out. Corporate computers don't need rich multimedia bling, fancy sliding windows and clocks and weather reports embedded in the desktop.

What I want to see from the next Microsoft OS is this. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I want an OS that starts up with no programs installed at all. I want it to be small, lean, efficient and secure. From there I will build up the apps that are needed. I will choose the level of security needed for my organisation, and whether users get prompted for every change that happens. I will choose if Internet access is essential or not. I will choose layout of menus, desktops and will choose the degree users can customize it.

I need to choose these things, not Microsoft. I understand my company's needs better than the so called engineers at Microsoft headquarters.

And that's what Microsoft fails to understand. And that is why Vista (and probably Windows 7 as well) are rejected by the corporate world. Microsoft dictates what we need to us, and it refuses to listen to the demands and needs of the IT departments.

It was the corporate world that made Microsoft the success it is. We can also help Microsoft fail. They need to start listening, and they need to start listening now.

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