And yet at the start of the previous year, many (so called) analysts were proclaiming that Vista sales would be the "best ever". Later in 2007, there were less rosy predictions about Vista. Then as the Christmas silly season approached, some of them began to raise the alarm. There were warnings that it was "crunch time", "make or break time", etc.
Now as we head towards mid 2008, Gartner have suddenly discovered that Vista is "collapsing under its own weight".
It seems to have taken Gartner almost a year and a half to reach a conclusion that was being voiced by many people in the sector last year. There was already plenty of anecdotal evidence that users were removing Vista from their systems. Of course the good shepherds from Redmond would prefer that their flock were so helpless and hopeless that they wouldn't know how to uninstall an Operating System. But that's the way it goes with some of these analyses ... One day you're a rooster, next day you're a feather duster!
And if Vista really is collapsing under its own weight, it is going get rather ugly. Because last time I checked Vista was carrying a truck-load of excess weight!
Certainly the usage figures from websites do not look promising. At present Vista hovers at 10%. From PC sales alone (and that is the only thing driving Vista sales) the browser share should be higher than this. This poses an awkward question for the spin doctors. One which I'm sure they don't want to hear. But I will of course ask it:
What if the majority of Vista systems are owned by grandmas, grandpas and fairly low-level users who bought their system from Harvey Norman (in the USA it would be Walmart), and continue to use Vista because they don't know how to (or understand why they should) remove it?
Of course without some independent market research we may not know the answer to that question. But it all looks as if it is soon to become merely academic because Vista is in serious trouble.
Is this what Gartner mean by "collapsing under its own weight"?
One of the many problems about structures that collapse under their own weight are the difficulty occupants experience in getting out of the way of the impending collapse. And in the case of Vista, anything short of world domination is the equivalent of collapse.
This is because, if I could resort to another metaphor, Vista is not so much like a big fat building collapsing under its own weight as it is like a big fat jumbo jet, half-way down the runway with her throttles fully open. A state of affairs that is referred to, in the aviation industry, as "committed" to take-off. Readers should note that the pilot's definition of "commitment is an entirely different one from the politician's definition. When a pilot says he is committed he means that his craft has reached a point where she either takes off and climbs to at least fifteen hundred feet or she crashes and burns! Now that, dear reader, is commitment!
A couple of years ago, it might have been possible to cancel Vista. In fact some analysis of the potential impact on users might have revealed the disaster (for Microsoft) that might result from rolling out such a load of old tripe. It would have been possible to quietly shelve the project and just grin and bear the hoots of derision from critics. It's easy to put up with mockery. Much easier than the prospect of a total wreck. Once again if I could resort to the aviation metaphor, its the type of thing you do in your pre-flight check. If you are carrying too much weight or there is bad weather you have the option of modifying the load or cancelling the flight -- especially if it is a maiden flight!
And of course a little bit of honest research might have enabled the brains trust at Redmond to design something their customers actually wanted, rather than something that the media oligopolies and Microsoft wanted. It is interesting to read between the lines and decipher the spin about the widely touted security features of Vista. What most of it actually refers to is the security of Microsoft's distribution model and the security of digital content distributed over the Internet rather than the personal security of the individual user. In fact there is ample evidence to suggest that their attention to security of corporate digital content may have even compromised their (individual) customer's security.
One supposes that when it comes to security, one man's fish is another man's poisson.
At the time of writing, when I google for "Vista+Poor+Performance", I get a 433,000 matches. "Vista+Bad+Performance" gives an even more impressive 614,000 matches
And at this stage, I should remind readers that I started this website almost six years ago (to the day) with an article that drew attention to the parallel paths of Microsoft in the noughties and IBM in the eighties. Vista now looks to be on track to become Microsoft's OS/2. All this will be a bitter pill for Microsoft. But the IT world in particular and the world in general will be a better place when they have partaken of the unappetising gruel of humble pie. It might even create some opportunities for the many superior alternatives to Microsoftware that have been locked out by virtue of Microsoft's vertical integration.