Computerworld: Microsoft Windows Vista a distant second-best to Apple Mac OS X

Scot Finnie, Computerworld’s online editorial director, takes readers on a tour of Windows Vista in his article “Visual Tour: 20 Things You Won’t Like About Windows Vista.”

“It boils down to this: The software giant is favoring security and IT controls over end-user productivity. Don’t get me wrong, security and IT manageability are very good things. But some of the people actually using the Beta 2 Vista software describe their experience as akin to that of a rat caught in a maze,” Finnie reports. “Business and home users will be nonplussed by the blizzard of protect-you-from-yourself password-entry and ‘Continue’ boxes required by the User Account Controls feature, for example. Networking functions and settings are scattered all over the place. The same is true of what Windows XP calls Display Properties. By default, the main menus (you know, File, Edit, View, etc.) are turned off on Windows Vista folders, Internet Explorer 7 and several other programs and utilities that come with Vista. Listing 20 things you won’t like about Windows Vista was unfortunately all too easy. The question is: Why couldn’t Microsoft see this coming?”

“Make no mistake, the new Windows lacks a gotta-have-it feature, unless it’s the increased security that protected-mode browsing, built-in spyware protection and the new User Account Controls provide. To my way of thinking, security shouldn’t be something you have to pay for. What’s more, it seems like Microsoft is building some of the most ambitious security components of Windows Vista not for its customers, but for itself,” Finnie reports. “Where does Windows Vista fit among many of the PC-based operating systems of today and the last couple of decades? With Beta 2 running on multiple test units, I feel comfortable predicting that Windows Vista will not outpace Mac OS X Tiger for overall quality and usability. It’s hard to beat Apple’s top-notch GUI design grafted onto an implementation of Unix variant BSD. Mac OS X has excellent reliability, security and usability. That isn’t to say that the user interface wouldn’t gain if Apple adopted some other best ideas of the day, but Apple has the best operating system this year, last year and next year. It’ll be interesting to see what the company delivers in its 10.5 Leopard version of Mac OS X. Meanwhile, I’m placing Windows Vista as a distant second-best to OS X. I see Linux and Windows 2000 as being roughly tied another notch or two below Vista, with XP being only a half step better than Win 2000.”

“So, why is the year-old Mac OS X Tiger so much better than Windows Vista, which Microsoft won’t even ship before January 2007? It isn’t that Apple has put more effort into its operating system; Microsoft has mounted a gargantuan effort on Windows Vista. It’s that the two companies have very different goals. I’ve come to believe that Microsoft has lost touch with its user base,” Finnie writes. “Everywhere you look, Microsoft has copied things that Apple has offered for quite some time in OS X… More than 15 years later, Microsoft is still following Apple in operating system design and bundled materials… I have no problem with Microsoft copying Apple’s or any other company’s best interface designs. We all win when that happens, and I wish Apple would steal the best things Microsoft does right back. What’s really strange is when a company lifts good ideas and makes them worse, not better.”

Finnie writes, “After more than 15 years reviewing Windows operating systems, I didn’t just suddenly begin hating Microsoft or Windows. (Although I have to admit, OS X is looking better and better of late.) Windows Vista has plenty of good aspects to recommend it. In a future article, Computerworld will make plain the many good things about Windows Vista. When the product ships, we’ll also make some final recommendations on the new operating system.”

Make sure you haven’t eaten recently and then go see Finnie’s 20 things users won’t like about Windows Vista here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “vitaboy” and “MacDragon” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Another great review for Microsoft’s latest bloated mess, er… Windows Albatross, sorry… Windows Vista. By the way, Apple’s “so much better than Windows Vista” Mac OS X Tiger is already over a year old right now (released April 29, 2005) and will be over 20-months-old by the time Microsoft currently says they plan to inflict Vista (early 2007). Of course, many expect Apple’s Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard to debut around the same time as Windows Train Wreck, leaving Microsoft’s “new” OS even further behind on the day it finally ships.

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  1. All this negative talk about Vista is interesting– almost the inverse of what happened to OS X and Apple in the media around 2000/2001. As momentum built in favor of OS X, Vista’s criticisms seem to be growing.

  2. I’ve heard reports Vista may not be out until June 2007. If they push Vista out early with all of the bugs people are finding in Beta 2 they will hurt themselves in further and Vista could be the biggest Operating System failure next to OS2 from IBM.

  3. Leopard will probably not show up until Q2 2007, given the late WWDC demo. I wonder if it’s better for Leopard to come out before or after Vista. It probably won’t matter in the long run.

  4. My favorite quote from the story:

    “I have no problem with Microsoft copying Apple’s or any other company’s best interface designs. We all win when that happens, and I wish Apple would steal the best things Microsoft does right back. What’s really strange is when a company lifts good ideas and makes them worse, not better.


  5. Here’s the list:

    20. Minimum video system requirements are more like maximum.
    19. Aero stratification will cause businesses woe.
    18. User Account Controls $#^%!~\!!!.
    17. Two words: Secure Desktop.
    16. No way to access the Administrator account in Vista Beta 2.
    15. Some first-blush networking peeves.
    14. Windows peer networking is still balky.
    13. Network settings user experience went backwards.
    12. Too many Network Control Panel applets, wizards and dialogs.
    11. Display settings have changed for no apparently good reason.
    10. Where are the file menus?
    9. Windows Defender Beta 2 is buggy.
    8. Problems without solutions.
    7. Lack of Windows Sidebar Gadgets.
    6. Media Center isn’t all there and falls flat.
    5. Faulty assumption on the Start Menu.
    4. Installation takes forever.
    3. Version control.
    2. Price.
    1. Little originality, sometimes with a loss of elegance.

    You’ll need to click through 13 pages of advertisements to get the details.

  6. “…lifts good ideas and makes them worse, not better.”

    they did this with their version of Expose, by making it apparently less efficient to manage multiple open windows.

  7. While OS X becomes better with each version, Windows seems more cluttered. Do you think?

    I’m glad to see that MS is not able to copy OS X. By the time Vista is finally released, Apple will be hard at work on 10.6.

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