The Lite Side

How Microsoft Can Turn Vista Lemons into Lemonade

- 2007.10.22

I just finished reading an article about how many computer users hate Vista. It's not the first such article - in fact, I've lost count of how many "everyone hates Vista" articles I've run lately. If I had all those articles clipped out, I might be able to fill a filing cabinet. Or two.

Anyway, I have to feel sorry for Microsoft. No one loves them anymore. They spent years to develop Vista. And for what? A bunch of ungrateful users who hate it. Don't those users realize that this is State of the Art? Don't these users realize that Microsoft would never, ever release any software unless it was Top Quality? Just like Paul Masson would never release a wine before its time!

Why, all you have to do is look at Microsoft history to see this. Word 6 for the Macintosh comes to mind - why wasn't that the best Word ever, far better than Word 5.1? And how about Windows ME? Wasn't that the best Windows ever? Of course! And so it logically follows that Vista will be much better than XP!

But, sad to say, many don't see it that way. Thus all the articles along the lines of, "I'd rather have a root canal than use Vista!" Then there are other articles from so-called "experts" who proclaim that Vista is a big failure.

That's crazy. Vista is not a failure, although it can't be denied that users don't like it. Of course, they also didn't like Van Gogh's art when he was alive.

Still, I'm concerned that Microsoft is losing sight of the important picture here. There are all those press releases talking about how Vista is doing well that often have a slight tinge of worry (to my eyes, at least). There are various actions that send the same sort of message of worry. The discontinuation of XP has been postponed.

And then there are various "downgrade" programs that allow users to switch from Vista to XP.

Microsoft shouldn't worry. It's not good for them. Instead, they should look on this as a Golden Opportunity. Get creative! Users don't like Vista? Fine. I have a plan for Microsoft that will turn Vista lemons into lemonade.

My plan hinges on one point: Most people get Windows by buying a new computer that has Windows already installed. It's possible to buy a copy of Windows at all fine stores that sell software. Walmart, for example. But the only time "normal" people buy Windows separately is when buying a copy to upgrade an existing computer.

So here's my plan. Effective immediately, the only copy of Windows that can be preinstalled will be Vista. There will be no downgrade option. Vista is the newest and best. There is no reason to have XP shipped on a brand new computer. None.

If computer companies don't like it, tough. If they want Windows, which is The Standard, they'll have to take what they can get. Microsoft knows what's best.

As for those troublesome customers who aren't willing to embrace the new standard of Vista, well, they can go out and buy a boxed copy of XP. Of course, under my plan, they won't be able to buy an "upgrade". Upgrades are for people moving up, not down.

Instead, maybe Microsoft can make a special "downgrade" edition - at twice the price. People who don't notice how wonderful Vista is probably wouldn't notice a dramatic price increase in XP, either.

With my plan, Microsoft will turn the Vista problem into a golden opportunity simply by selling Windows twice. It should bring in a few million much-needed dollars. After all, Microsoft needs to get to work developing the next exciting version of Windows!

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