Geeks With Blogs
Scott Kuhl Warning: I may have no idea what I am talking about!

Like the OS, hate the OS, love the OS and you're upgrading today?  Well, it only really matters a little.

The vast majority of consumers only upgrade to a new operating system when they buy a new computer.  So what Microsoft needs to do is win them over at the purchase point.  It's not going to come down to does Vista have this specific feature or not.  It's going to come down to one of two things.  First, maybe knowing Microsoft has a new OS will peek their interest into getting a new PC.  If this happens, Microsoft wins against itself.  Second, when they need a new PC, it's going to come down to should I get a Mac I have seen so many commercials about?  Knowing Microsoft has a new OS that the hype machine says is secure and just as good may eliminate that small chance of users leaving.  Plus its new, consumers love new.  Microsoft wins against Apple.  (What about Linux?  Not even a contender.)

Some users will switch to Apple.  But having a new OS will slow that down unless it is so awful that the majority of consumers and media rebel.  This will not happen with Vista.

Releasing XP SP3 does not create a hype machine.  Service Packs never do.  This is why Apple releases OS 10.X and charges $129 instead of OS X SP 5 which no one would pay for.  Apple has not released a new OS in years.  For everyone that complained about XP being old just for the sake of being old, they also needed to complain about OS X.  Because no matter what you think, those new Mac OS releases are just service packs.

So when I say it matters a little, I mean it matters more from a marketing perspective than a technology perspective.  Whether it will matter a lot will depend on what the rest of the world does with it.  HP releases a Vista Media Center that has a competitive price point with Tivo and CableCard support, Toshiba releases a small UMPC that is really an iPod on steroids, and Dell finally releases a tablet that is usable with super battery life.  These are all examples of things that combined could make a difference in the long run.  Vista builds the foundation to make a difference.  We make the difference.

As for businesses.  They mostly go with the flow dictated by the industry.  Only very progressive companies switch operating system vendors.  And that's not because of a single new release.  That's because of major long term market changes.  Where consumers go, so shall businesses follow.

Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 7:04 AM Software | Back to top

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