Does Vista Really Matter?

by Preston Gralla

Microsoft will ultimately spend many hundreds of millions of dollars developing and marketing Vista in a bet-the-farm strategy on the new operating system.

Unasked is the question: Does Vista really matter?

The real danger to Microsoft isn't from another company overcoming it with a rival operating system. It's from Google, which is taking an end-around, and building applications on top of the Internet, which in essence has become the world's largest operating system, dwarfing even Windows.

Google's applications are simple, lean, and elegant -- everything from Gmail to the Google Toolbar, Google Maps, Google News, and more. It may ultimately even build Internet-based applications like a word processor. And there is plenty of evidence it may even be launching a national Wi-Fi service, and appears to be building what may be the world's largest backbone network.

Microsoft, meanwhile, slaves away on Vista, and fumbles every time it tries to create a Web-centric service. Does anyone remember Hailstorm from several years back? Enough said.

Google appears to be proving that in an Internet-centric world, the operating system may not matter. Internet-focused applications do. And so despite all the hype about Vista, what's really important may be Google applications like blog search and whatever else the company is cooking up in the labs. Vista may be pretty and powerful and useful, but it may be a look backwards, not to the future.

Does Vista Matter, or should Microsoft spend its money on Internet applications? Let me know what you think.


2005-09-23 14:39:21
The question is whether Microsoft will attempt to 'cut off Google's air supply'. I'm sure that the great minds at MS are all looking for a way to do that.
2005-09-23 15:23:53
It matters not - to me
At my work, I've been using a PowerBook for a year now. The servers I administer are primarily Linux, BSD and OS X. We have three remaining Windows servers running IIS. By the end of the year that will be down to one, just for our customers who need/want ASP/.NET.

I've wiped the Windows XP off of my old Dell laptop and have been happily using Ubuntu since it was released.

I just ordered a dual-processor G5 Mac to replace the aging PC at my house. Once that PC goes, my computing work and personal lives will be remarkably Windows free.

Now, I realize I'm not a "normal" computer user. I'm a serious geek who likes the commandline, who builds long-distance wireless networks for fun.

But most of my friends and colleagues are in the same boat as me. We don't want anything to do with Windows.

For me, Vista means a big "So What?".