Windows Vista launch will fall flat, but will still dominate eventually

I’m learning that when I post about Windows on Web Worker Daily, you can almost hear the readership yawn. Folks are interested in talking about Mac OS X or Linux, and they love talking about Windows software. But they don’t seem to care about Windows itself. Sometimes the anti-Windows comments get downright testy. To most, Windows is something just tolerated. It’s what allows favorite applications to run. Not much more.

Niall Kennedy notes that a local Vista launch party was a dud. Not surprised. There are probably many more reports like that. Why? Because the early adopters have already adopted. With all the public betas and ways that people who wanted Vista could have gotten it, this launch is just for the everyday person. And the everyday person isn’t going to a midnight launch party. The everyday person is going to wait until their computer dies, they’re going to go to CompUSA and buy a new one, and when that new computer has Vista pre-installed, viola! they’ve upgraded. People line up for Mac OS X in part because Apple limits pre-launch distribution of the operating system to only the top developers and media, so the launch is a bigger deal to more users.

So while I don’t think people are going to run to the stores this week in large numbers to buy their box of Vista, it will still eventually be as ubiquitous as Windows XP is now in the home market. After a while, learning to use Vista on a new computer won’t be a big deal. But switching to Mac OS X or Linux is something that many people still won’t consider.

But I had to laugh watching coverage of the Vista launch on the Today show yesterday. Meredith Viera started the story with a walking, talking ad about what was so great about…Mac OS X! I could just picture Bill Gates sitting in his chair tapping his foot and mumbling, “You can stop telling the world how great Apple is anytime now, thanks.” Then Bill launched into his spiel talking about the Vista features like parental controls which have been in Mac OS X for years. “Imagine being able to set the time that your kids are allowed online.” Um yeah, Bill, I can imagine it, although the timing feature won’t be introduced until Leopard this year.

Until people are cursing, “Darn, I really need to run (whatever) but it’s only available for Mac OS X so if I want to use this, I better get myself a Mac,” nothing is going to change in the home market where the individual user has the most control. Small utilities are Mac OS X only, but few switch operating systems for a $30 piece of software. They should just market Vista honestly and get it over with…“9 out of 10 of you are going to be using this thing eventually in your home or small business, so why not now?”

I think Office 2007 is much bigger news. That’s what is going to change the way people really work. And it will matter to those of us who haven’t switched to Office 2007. I am not recommending that anyone at C3 upgrade to Office 2007 until we are all ready, because we exchange files so often.


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