I started reading John Dvorak’s columns in PC Magazine in 1985 – about two years after becoming a Jerry Pournelle addict. Those were certainly the wild and wooly frontier days of PC computing – changes always afoot, early-edge technology that took arguably more work to use than the productivity that resulted from its use. It was a heady time to be involved in the PC world – in fact, 1985 was the same year I started MicroLaw from the second bedroom of my apartment at the time.
Fast forward 22 years and John Dvorak is still cranking out spot-on realistic, pragmatically practical and curmudgeonly advice and commentary on the state of the computing world. I think of him as an entertaining mix of Andy Rooney and Bill Proxmire. One of John’s latest columns in PC Mag Online is called “The Vista Death Watch.” In this column, Dvorak takes the position that Vista may not be fixable at all, even with service packs, etc. His theory is that if Microsoft’s Plan A has almost completely failed with Vista, there doesn’t appear to be any Plan B in the works.
He argues that not only did Vista fail to deliver anything new and useful, it’s core functionality seemed to be released before most of its operational issues and compatibility headaches were worked out – resulting in intensely negative market reactions. He also indicated that much of the problem results from the confusion related to so many versions and to exacerbate that issue, the relatively high costs for the version that everyone should really have – Ultimate – the only one with all Vista’s features.
He goes on to speculate about three possible options for Microsoft, stating as follows:
- “It can give up on the stupid variations and lower the price on the one good Vista, Vista Ultimate. Iâ€™d say $99 would be a price everyone can live with.”
- “Microsoft can scuttle the entire product. Why not? Work on a whole new OS starting today with one team and work on SP3 for XP with another team to keep users on Windows.
- “Roll out Vista 2.0. Figure out some way to add some nifty features, perhaps stolen from the next version of the Mac OS. Bring in some outside designers if you have to. Oh, and lower the price on this one, too.”
It would be hard to argue to the contrary. As usual, in his typically curmudgeonly and blunt way, Dvorak states what all of us who have been victimized by the abomination known as Vista have been feeling. But maybe we’ve been too complacent – how many of us should have said what Dvorak just wrote? Could it be that Vista is Windows history repeating itself? Anyone remember that previous abomination called Windows ME? Vista ME anyone?