Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Vista's launch: a blockbuster that was to be?

Microsoft launched its new operating system on January 30 amidst a ho-hum reaction from buyers and analysts, much unlike the rapturous response given to announcement of Apple’s iPhone, which at present is still some months off.

The sobering reality for Microsoft:
PC OSes do not pack as much power as the so-called online OS (read Google) or handsets do.

Techdirt reports that Vista’s launch saw ‘the smallest crowds of any OS launch by Microsoft-- less than Windows 95 and Windows XP’.

Some will say consumers want better security with their systems. On that front, most security analysts are not impressed with Vista:

Security issue # 1: Pay more for better security
Many say that Microsoft has reserved most of the security features for the high-end editions of Vista, namely Windows Vista Ultimate, which costs $250.

Security issue # 2: Short shrift to third world
Vista comes in 6 flavors. Users in the developing countries will have to make do with what Microsoft calls the “Starter edition”, which in all probability, will be choke full of irritating update notices on every start and may be most vulnerable to security attacks.

I guess Microsoft’s main market in developing are the high-end government and corporate contracts.

Here in India, it is amusing to see ministers and corporate chiefs lining up like eager schoolchildren at the zoo gate, to be seen and clicked with Bill Gates.

Security issue # 3: It is only software

Remember, it is only software. No software can hope to defend your castle against the ever-increasing army of hackers, most of who may now belong to ‘proper’ criminal gangs.

The best way to be safe is to be careful – for example, you must closely scrutinize your download activity.

You may also consider having a firewall and have just one download folder which users must constantly check for viruses, spyware and other threats.

Lesson: Do not dump XP
If you have a functioning PC running Windows XP with Service Pack 2, experts suggest you stay with that, no need to spend $200 to upgrade to Vista.


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