“Since the euphoria of PDC 2003, Microsoft’s handling of Windows Vista has been abysmal. Promises have been made and dismissed, again and again. Features have come and gone. Heck, the entire project was literally restarted from scratch after it became obvious that the initial code base was a teetering, technological house of cards. Windows Vista, in other words, has been an utter disaster. And it’s not even out yet,” Paul Thurrott writes for Windows IT Pro. Microsoft “has turned into that thing it most hated (read: IBM), an endlessly complex hierarchy of semi-autonomous middle managers and vice presidents of various levels and titles, many of whom can’t seem to make even the smallest of decisions. The company is too big and too slow to ship updates to its biggest products. It’s collapsing under its own weight.”

“For Windows, specifically, the situation is dire. As I’ve noted in the past, the Windows Division retains, as employees of the software giant have told me, the last vestiges of the bad, old Microsoft. This is the Microsoft that ran roughshod over competitors in order to gain market share at any cost. The Microsoft that forgot about customers in its blind zeal to harm competitors. The Microsoft, that frankly, all the Linux and Apple fanatics always imagined was out there, plotting and planning their termination,” Thurrott writes.

“So what went wrong [with Windows Vista]? What didn’t go wrong? When Bill Gates revealed in mid-2003 that he was returning to his roots, so to speak, and spending half of his time on what was then still called Longhorn, we should have seen the warning signs. Sadly, Gates, too, is part of the Bad Microsoft, a vestige of the past who should have had the class to either formally step down from the company or at least play just an honorary role, not step up his involvement and get his hands dirty with the next Windows version. If blame is to be assessed, we must start with Gates. He has guided–or, through lack of leadership–failed to guide the development of Microsoft’s most prized asset. He has driven it into the ground,” Thurrott writes.

“Promises were made. Excitement was generated. None of it, as it turns out, was worth a damn. From a technical standpoint, the version of Windows Vista we will receive is a sad shell of its former self, a shadow. One might still call it a major Windows release. I will, for various reasons. The kernel was rewritten. The graphics subsystem is substantially improved, if a little obviously modeled after that in Mac OS X. Heck, half of the features of Windows Vista seem to have been lifted from Apple’s marketing materials,” Thurrott writes. “Shame on you, Microsoft. Shame on you, but not just for not doing better. We expect you to copy Apple, just as Apple (and Linux) in its turn copies you. But we do not and should not expect to be promised the world, only to be given a warmed over copy of Mac OS X Tiger in return. Windows Vista is a disappointment. There is no way to sugarcoat that very real truth.”

Thurrott writes, “You’d have to be special kind of stupid to look at Windows Vista and see it as the be-all, end-all of operating systems. It some ways, Windows Vista actually will exceed Mac OS X and Linux, but not to the depth we were promised. Instead, Windows Vista will do what so many other Windows releases have done, and simply offer consumers and business users a few major changes and many subtle or minor updates. That’s not horrible. It’s just not what was promised. Because it failed so obviously with Vista, my guess is that Microsoft is a bit gun shy about major OS releases and will be for some time. And that’s too bad. Windows Vista was Microsoft’s first chance since Windows 95 to reach for the golden ring. It may be another decade before they try again.”

There’s much, much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Karma is a bitch. About the only thing Thurrott fails to mention — perhaps he couldn’t bear the thought of it — is that the successor to Mac OS X Tiger, “Leopard,” will be out around the same time as Microsoft’s Windows Vista. In fact, it’ll probably be released before Vista. Thurrott doesn’t detail how Windows Vapor, er Vista, will surpass Mac OS X (Tiger, we presume), but one can only imagine that Microsoft would easily best Apple in the “sucks” category. Thurrott was probably referencing “malware infestations” and/or “user frustration level,” two areas where Vista will certainly surpass any version of Mac OS X. Also, the degree to which Microsoft copies Apple cannot be equated with the one or two things Apple may have seen in Windows and improved upon (Command-Tab or Fast User Switching in Mac OS X for two possible examples). The fact remains today as it has always been and will continue to be for the foreseeable future: Apple leads. Microsoft follows poorly. As usual.

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