Even Microsoft’s top execs ‘burned’ by Vista problems

“Private Microsoft emails unearthed during a US court case have revealed that even the software giant’s own executives struggled to get Windows Vista running smoothly,” Asher Moses reports or The Age.

“Early adopters of the operating system, which launched last year, battled with widespread hardware and software compatibility issues. Many PCs initially sold as ‘Vista Capable’ were unable to run some of Vista’s core features, sparking a class action lawsuit against Microsoft,” Moses reports.

“One executive, Mike Nash, complained he was ‘burned’ so badly by compatibility issues he was left with ‘a $2100 email machine,'” Moses reports.

“Steven Sinofsky, the Microsoft executive in charge of Windows, struggled to even get his home printer working with Vista. In an email to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in February last year, Sinofsky outlined reasons why Vista struggled at launch,” Moses reports. “He said hardware and software vendors never ‘really believed we would ever ship [Vista] so they didn’t start the work [on updated drivers] until very late in 2006.'”

“‘People who rely on using all the features of their hardware (like Jon’s Nikon scanner) will not see availability for some time, if ever, depending on the [manufacturer],” Sinofsky wrote,” Moses reports. “Ballmer responded with a terse “Righto.'”

Full article here.

Gregg Keizer reports for Computerworld, “Last-minute changes to Windows Vista broke drivers, forcing key hardware vendors to ‘limp out with issues’ when the operating system launched last year, according to a presentation by Dell Inc. that was made public this week. ‘Late OS code changes broke drivers and applications, forcing key commodities to miss launch or limp out with issues,’ said one slide in a Dell presentation dated March 25, 2007, about two months after Vista’s launch at retail and availability on new PCs.”

“In August 2005, Gretchen Miller, Dell’s director of mobile marketing — responsible for the Texas company’s laptop marketing — gave feedback to Microsoft on its Vista programs,” Keizer reports. “‘[The dual logo] adds another level of complexity to an already complex story, which in turn will create confusion for our customers, both corporate and consumer,’ said Miller in an e-mail. Although Dell advised Microsoft to scale back the logos, the software developer eventually went ahead with its plans for two stickers, one that announced a PC was ‘Vista Capable,’ the other advertising that the system was ‘Vista Premium Ready.'”

Full article here.

Tom Krazit reports for CNET, “As far back as 2005, Microsoft executives knew that confusing hardware requirements for the Windows Vista Capable program might get them in trouble. But they did it anyway–over the objection of PC makers–at the behest of Intel, according to e-mails released as part of a class-action lawsuit pending against Microsoft.”

Krazit reports, “A treasure trove of e-mails has been released as part of that case, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Todd Bishop has spotlighted a number of e-mails that call into question whether Microsoft was acting, at least in part, on Intel’s behalf when it set the requirements for the Vista Capable marketing program.”

Full article, with links, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Big Pete” and “Erik” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: The fact that Apple’s Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger runs on an old indigo iMac G3/400Mhz/192MB RAM circa 2000 with nearly all of the meaningful Aqua graphics intact (we do have to forgo the ripple when dropping Widgets on the Dashboard) while Vista can’t run its derivative, less productive, and obviously massively inefficient Aero graphics even on new PCs neatly highlights Apple’s insurmountable lead.

Of course, all tech leads are insurmountable when those distantly trailing only know how to copy the leader poorly, not innovate on their own.

People sometimes notice that old indigo iMac in the corner of our office and ask why we don’t get rid of it. Why should we? It only gets faster with each successive Mac OS X release.

[UPDATE: 5:35pm EST: Added excerpts from and link to CNET article. Fixed Take to reflect that Tiger is running on that old iMac, not Leopard. The point we are making remains exactly the same as Tiger’s UI easily exceeds that of Windows.]

[UPDATE: 9:12am EST: Removed reference to possible future install of Leopard on the old iMac as Leopard does not support G3 processors.]


  1. PC world did an X300 v Air comparison and came up with this gem.

    Hey, we’re not called PC World for nothing. Air’s Leopard is cute, and secure, and its back-up software is very 2001: A Space Odyssey. But we prefer to live in the wider world opened by the X300’s Windows Vista. Of course, the likes of Bootcamp now let you run Windows on a Mac and, for the really pervese, Hackintosh will put the MacOS on a PC. But for best performance, keep things native.
    Winner: X300

    Get the full story here. http://blogs.pcworld.co.nz/pcworld/ck-live/2008/02/lenovo_walks_on_air.html

    Nuf said!

  2. According to the MDN Take, they are running leapord on a 400 mhz G3 processor right. I’m pretty sure the requirement for this is a processor that runs at a highler clock speed than that. There is a dual 500mhz G4 tower we have here at work that wouldn’t install leapord because it was saying the processor were not fast enough? Is there a work-around for this? If there is, let me know so we can get that computer up to date.

  3. By the way if anyone has a copy of leopard on a spare hard drive they have knocking about, can I have it? My two machines are a G4 400MHz AGP (Under-specced) and an intel MacBook (No HD swapping) so I don’t think I can do it myself? Or can I do it with ‘Target disc mode’?

  4. Regarding MDN take, I find it completely absurd that 10.5 runs on anything less than an Intel-based Mac or PowerPC G5. Sure it runs fantastic on my MacBook Pro and Mac Pro, but out of curiosity I installed 10.5 on my revision A 867MHz 12″ Powerbook G4. A machine that just _barely_ edges under Apple’s minimum spec for 10.5, and the performance compared to 10.4 is terrible. Like trying to run Vista on anything less than a dual-core PC. It’s certainly possible, but when something as simple as text-to-speech doesn’t work as expected in Calculator of all apps (voices like Fred will stutter when speaking a simple result), then something is definitely up with the so-called minimum requirements.

  5. Well, let’s see: MS execs knew that Vista wasn’t living up to the promises made to consumers because even they couldn’t get it working. Wow. And their defense in this lawsuit is what? “The devil made me do it.”? “I was just following orders.”? “We meant that it was ‘Vista Capable’ since you could upgrade your ram and drive and video card.”? All of the above?

  6. @DanDrums … you do need to do this with the same Processor family (PPC), so you’re correct, you can’t put Leopard on a PPC G4 via your Intel, you’ll need to find a PPC Mac out there somewhere, but the process does indeed work. I have Leopard on G4s under the 867 mhz limit and it runs without problems.

  7. @Jim R.

    I’ve got it running on a G4, 400hz sawtooth with 1 meg of ram. Installed it on an external disk, booted the computer with that external, installed leopard from the DVD to the G4.

    I’m not having any of the issues you spoke of, it runs fine. (Actually better than on my lampstand iMac.)

    @DanDrums.. I would install Leopard on the Macbook, then target disk mode the MB to the AGP, select the MB as your start up disk in System Preferences, then restart the AGP and install Leopard.

  8. What is amazing is that M$ keeps making these completely dumbass mistakes and nobody on their board ever questions Gates’ or Ballmer’s competence. In the rest of the world executives, at that level, lose their jobs for less….

    Just my $0.02

  9. @Jim – TIV
    I have a G4 (dual 500) I’ve thought about attempting something like that. Do you run into unsupported hardware problems with software update – i.e. when it scans your machine for software to update? Or do you just keep the update file and copy it to the older computer?

    @ gow
    “you do need to do this with the same Processor family (PPC),”
    Are you saying you could from a G5 install to an older G4 via target disk mode?


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