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Microsoft Software

Is Windows Vista in Trouble? 879

Ken Erfourth writes "The is running a story about what they consider two powerful indications that Vista is failing in the marketplace. One, Dell has reintroduced PCs running Windows XP on its website due to customer demand. Two, Microsoft is conducting a worldwide firesale on a bundle of Microsoft Office 2007/WindowsXP Starter Edition. According to, at least, these are signs of serious problems selling Vista. Are we seeing the stumbling of the Microsoft Juggernaught with the slow adoption of Windows Vista?"
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Is Windows Vista in Trouble?

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  • by dattaway ( 3088 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @04:47PM (#18845113) Homepage Journal
    XP doesn't fully support the latest Vista technology: []
  • by BeBoxer ( 14448 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:09PM (#18845511)
    Vista. XP. Who Cares? Does Microsoft really care? As long as you are buying their OS, they are doing fine. No, the threat to Microsoft is not people choosing XP over Vista. It's people choosing OSX. In my little part of the world (education/research institution) OSX has reached about 30-50% penetration in the laptop arena. At least judging by what people actually bring to meetings. That trend will spell real trouble for Microsoft if it continutes.
  • by shihonage ( 731699 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:11PM (#18845545)
    Actually XP didn't introduce gaming APIs - Windows 2000 can run all the games XP can, except for those which specifically check for Windows version. XP's innovations over Windows 2K were proper Hyperthreading support and Cleartype.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:19PM (#18845665)
    Isn't that kind of like being the prettiest checkout clerk at Wal-Mart?

    Obligatory: mart/walmart.html

  • by muuh-gnu ( 894733 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:20PM (#18845677)
    Actually... only Linux can do it with half the hardware.

    For OS X to run somewhat comfortably you need at least 1 Gig of RAM, which is comparable to Vista's requirements, with the single difference that OS X needed so much years ago, when Vista didn't even see a beta release and when RAM was costlier. The usual Mac fan responses on this memory hunger were things like "Get another 1GB bar, dont be a cheapo!" negating the fact that the requirements Vista ist blamed for today, OS X has basically had since 10.0.
  • by djmurdoch ( 306849 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:22PM (#18845715)
    So they bought a copy of XP and reinstalled. 3D looked like what a top of the line card should be able to do and dialup worked. Performance in general was vastly improved. Still had the 2GB memory limit though, probably not much to there except go to a 64bit system and suffer the issues involved with that... not worth it.

    In XP you can up your limit to 3 GB by using the /3GB switch in boot.ini. According to this page [], the same thing is accomplished somewhat differently on Vista.

  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by fimbulvetr ( 598306 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:23PM (#18845721)
    While you are certainly right about how coke from Mexico has sugar, I think you may be wrong about the corn syrup thing.

    I've always read that it has more to do with the fact that (cane) sugar is substantially cheaper than corn syrup/beat sugar. As such, most places outside of the US use cane sugar. The reason the US uses corn syrup is because we have high tariffs on imported cane sugar - enough so that corn syrup/beat sugar is more economically viable in the states.

    I am willing to be corrected, however.
  • Re:It was trouble (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:27PM (#18845797)
    Do you actually have any idea what's new in Vista? "A bunch of features that are truly cosmetic in nature"? LOL. You mean like a new display layer, a new driver model, a new networking stack, a new printing subsystem, a new color management system, a new hardware error management system, and a crapload of other kernel level changes? Yeah, I guess that's all cosmetic.
  • Re:Now if only... (Score:5, Informative)

    by lessthanjakejohn ( 766177 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:32PM (#18845871)
    The Crap isn't on the windows CD dell gives you... the only change between retail and dell ms cd is drivers and a dell logo for support link

    So you would wipe it with the cd dell gives you...
  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by Endo13 ( 1000782 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:34PM (#18845919)
    OEM can actually be stretched so loosely as to simply mean "you have to buy it with hardware". At any rate, all OEM machines are built by someone, and most of the people who build OEM systems most likely use systems they built themselves. In this case I don't think it really makes much difference if the builder is an official "business" or any individual.
  • by marcosdumay ( 620877 ) <> on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:37PM (#18845975) Homepage Journal
    I don't remember Microsoft gouing back and start licensing 98 again after they released XP and discontinued 98.
  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gizzmonic ( 412910 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:48PM (#18846131) Homepage Journal
    High fructose corn syrup (and the ethanol boondoggle, for that matter) wouldn't exist without the corn subsidies encouraging farmers to grow corn syrup. The stiff restrictions on sugar imports have something to do with it too.

    But Coca-Cola had already switched most of its bottlers to high fructose corn syrup before the formula changed. So...the conspiracy theory about sugar vs. high fructose corn syrup really doesn't make sense.
  • by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) * on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:51PM (#18846169) Homepage Journal

    Which functionality is taken away? IIRC, the only DRM in Vista is there to enable playback of DRM-enabled media. (I.e. HD-DVD/BluRay) It's not as if it infects all your AVI files with some vicious DRM scheme.

    No, but average consumers don't know that. The "Cost of Vista []" article points out some fantastic ways in which functionality is effectively being taken away from consumers. Here's an excerpt close to the front of the article:

    Currently the most common high-end audio output interface is S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format). Most newer audio cards, for example, feature TOSlink digital optical output for high-quality sound reproduction, and even the latest crop of motherboards with integrated audio provide at least coax (and often optical) digital output. Since S/PDIF doesn't provide any content protection, Vista requires that it be disabled when playing protected content. In other words if you've sunk a pile of money into a high-end audio setup fed from an S/PDIF digital output, you won't be able to use it with protected content. Instead of hearing premium high-definition audio, you get treated to premium high-definition silence.

    In other words, a consumer who has high-end audio setup thinking that they're going to be able to listen to the latest and greatest in A/V home theater technology will be sadly disappointed. The discs aren't broken, the hardware isn't broken, and no AVI files have been infected, but the end result is the same: Functionality that the user has paid for and reasonably expects to work doesn't. It's been taken away.

  • by Ryan Amos ( 16972 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:55PM (#18846245)
    What happens when an XP system needs re-installation and I can't get an activation for any reason?

    You call the 1-800 number on the popup window, and if your serial number isn't on the "blacklist" (unless you pulled your serial number off the internet, this shouldn't be a problem) then a nice Indian woman named "Susan" gives you an activation code. Yeah, it's kind of a pain in the ass, but it's not the end of the world.
  • by asninn ( 1071320 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:55PM (#18846249)
    I indeed don't remember MSDOS 4.0, but I *do* remember that there was a 4.01; and contrary to what you might say, 4.0(1) did have some useful features, too, insofar as that it got rid of the 32 MB limit for hard disk partitions that 3.3 had. Admittedly, it did so in an unwieldy manner, and 5.0 was FAR superior to any MSDOS version that came before it, but it's inaccurate to say that 4.0(1) did not add any useful features.
  • by HTMLSpinnr ( 531389 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:06PM (#18846369) Homepage
    Sure it would if you created a truly sandboxed network with routing and machines running with said IP addresses on the other side of the rotuer. However, if it uses HTTPS with a Microsoft or otherwise trusted CA signed SSL cert, you'd have a much harder time duping that.
  • by QuasiEvil ( 74356 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:08PM (#18846397)
    Ever heard of a *routing table*? Pretty easy to send IP requests elsewhere...

    That said, yes, the nasty activation crap has repelled me for some time. I have enough legit licenses, it's just that they don't necessarily go with the hardware on which they're now running. Plus I like to use one image for everything, so that when a machine goes wonky, I can just reimage it and restore the user data.
  • Re:Now if only... (Score:2, Informative)

    by seattle911 ( 1013733 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:20PM (#18846579)
    thats true, I bought a new Dell Dimension 5150 about a year ago and to my surprise now Dell re-installation CD. I did a clean install of Ubuntu right away, but still wanted the XP disc in case I ever wanted to reinstall and sell or give away PC someday.

    So I called dell tech support and they shipped me a disc, no charge.

    I always take a look at Dell's PCs, especially in the Small Business section (only SSN needed) because they have very good deals that must be subsidized heavily by crap ware that I remove anyway. I got a good deal on the PC + 19 inch LCD.
  • by drew ( 2081 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:23PM (#18846621) Homepage
    I remember wiping out a 98 install to reinstall Win 95. I stuck with Windows 95 (OSR2) until mid 2001, when I was finally convinced to move to win2k. Even then I continued to use 95 on VMWare partitions due to its smaller size for almost two more years, as Windows 2K would take 1GB of disk space by itself.
  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by Achromatic1978 ( 916097 ) < minus berry> on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:28PM (#18846665)

    Typically OEM software licenses require the installer to agree to additional terms to have a valid license. Microsoft requires certain conditions of distribution and support for its System Builders, which is how it describes the installers with privileges to use OEM licenses. The requirements include: automated methods of installation of the product; customization of the installation to identify the OEM; first level technical support of the product; application of a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) to the hardware; and distribution of original media and booklets.

  • by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:43PM (#18846855)
    not doing anything that's not being done on OSX or Linux (Compiz, Beryl).

    I know there is a lot of ignorance and lack of understanding in the tech journalism, but for people that have or 'had' to actually work with or understand Vista know that this is not the case.

    There is quite a list of things that Vista does and that only can be currently done in Vista.

    Since you mention graphics, I'll just mention the few main items.

    Vista implements a full Vector based Composer
    Vista implements GPU Scheduling (pre-emptive multi-tasking of the GPU)
    Vista implements GPU RAM Virtualization (system and VRAM are shared)
    Vista implements Video Hot Swap (Plug in New Video cards/devices live - change video live, etc.)

    Unlike OSX, Vista does not do double buffering of the display in the way OSX does, so it has less latency. The Composer in Vista can write from system or VRAM directly to the display. The double buffering of OSX has given OSX a tear free interface, but it is using very old concepts by using just simple double buffering which adds RAM overhead and reduces speed. 3D Applications & Games in a 'window' will never be able to perform under OSX like they do on Vista.

    Since Vista also is doing a Vector based composer for newer applications, the bandwidth between the applications and the composer is very light and the composer itself manges redraws even inside the application's window. This allows RDP to do some really nice 3D and animation effects remotely.

    Vista also drops GDI/GDI+ (Font Drawing) & WPF through the 3D GPU for more acceleration. Vista does this even on old video cards. Any Video card that has 8mb of RAM and support DirectX 7 get GPU acceleration for existing applications.

    This is why even on a low end system Vista running AI or CorelDraw will paint complex images 10x faster than XP or OSX can. OSX nor any X11/Linux solution does this for existing applications. OSX does have Quartz Extreme, but is NOT YET working properly and the compatibility issues is one reason Leopard is delayed.

    And this discussion on just Video could go on and on with concepts that the WDDM brings to computing (Multi-core GPU support) to other features like CableCard, which Vista is the only OS that natievly supports.

    So why does Vista require so much power when Linux and OSX can do it on half the hardware?

    See this is another misconception. As for basic computing the ONLY big requirement of Vista is 512mb of RAM to run as fast as XP. This is not a big leap, considering even OSX wants 512mb for adequate performance, and even Linux running KDE or GNOME will run better with at least 512mb of RAM.

    Vista 'does' scale with more RAM better than most other OSes, in fact it will continue to scale and show performance up to at least 16Gb of RAM because of the new caching system. Most OSes, like XP drop performance increases at a certain memory level because of the OS's inability to forecast content needed from the HD. So as you add 2GB, 4GB, 16GB of RAM Vista 'WILL' keep getting faster, where XP and other OSes will stop at about 1Gb or 2Gb because once the OS and application needs are met the performance increase stops.

    As for processor, Vista will run on a P3 from 1999 quite easily as the processor requirements are also not high. I assume PIIs are also support, but our labs have not actually tested Vista on anything lower than a 700mhz machine.

    As for Video to get basic acceleration, a DirectX 7 card from 1998/1999 will work just fine, and it will draw faster than XP by using the 3D portion of the GPU for vector and font acceleration.

    The only other 'high' requirement for Vista is a PS 2.0 card to get the Glass effects and higher end WDDM features. So this means any 3D card made in 2003 or newer will work just fine. And you can pick up a Geforce 5200 or 5600 for $10-20 bucks in the cheap OEM market.

    Considering Vista is an OS designed for today's hardware, it seems to be right in line with the market.

    Vista having 'high' requirements is just being mis-informed, unless you feel that a video card made in 2003 or a 512mb of RAM is 'high'.
  • Re:Now if only... (Score:3, Informative)

    by matth ( 22742 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @07:59PM (#18847679) Homepage
    You are still left with 10,000 partitions on the HDD.. some in FAT32.. some FAT16 and one or two NTFS... ugh. First thing I do with a Dell is format and make one partition.
  • by obeythefist ( 719316 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @08:03PM (#18847711) Journal
    Just to provide some facts (I hate to do this, especially on /. where I will be modded to hell)

    Vista will allow you to perform a fully functioning install without using *any* serial or license key. You can run Windows Vista, fully functional, for 30 days without entering a key or verifying that key via the activation product. Sure, during that 30 day period you need to fix up your license details and activate the product. This is an anti-piracy process. If you respect copyrights and have legitimately paid for your software, this shouldn't be a problem.

    If you don't respect copyrights, or just feel like pirating the product, or don't want to phone home to Microsoft, it's a simple matter of using any of the fire-and-forget third party product activators.

    Now, most importantly, all of those facts above indicate clearly that Vista can be installed and running and useable immediately after the initial install process. It's not as free as open source/free software is, because you're dealing with proprietary code.

    But if you ask me, it is a million times better than OS X. At least with Vista I get to choose who I buy the computer from. Microsoft doesn't lock me in or tie me down to a specific hardware platform like some DRM laden MP3 player sellers do.
  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by innerweb ( 721995 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @10:29PM (#18849001)

    Which is why we no longer drink corn syrup based beverages. We (spouse and I) both lost about half our excess weight just be switching off of foods and beverages with corn syrup. I never saw that coming, but our doc suggested it and it worked like a charm. FWIW, I was already excercising (2 hours per day cycling and weights). But, the weight was not coming off like it should have. Dropping the corn syrup and white flours did the rest.


  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:4, Informative)

    by Your Pal Dave ( 33229 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @11:14PM (#18849399)

    Don't let the fact that aspartame turns into formaldehyde in your veins hold you back.
    Again, Snopes []
  • by NPN_Transistor ( 844657 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @12:07AM (#18849903)
    Although Vista isn't selling well to begin with, I find it highly unlikely that it won't succeed in the long run. Sure, most people don't see any perceived benefits from upgrading to Vista from XP and won't go out and buy a copy of Vista or an upgrade disk for their current computer. Even if few people upgrade their computers, Vista will still sell successfully. Why? Because new computers come with Vista.

    Sooner or later, people are going to buy new computers. And what operating system will come with these new computers? Windows Vista. If you walk into a Best Buy or a Circuit City today, there probably won't be one computer on sale without Vista on it. Whether they like it or not, the computers that people buy will come with Vista, and that's what people will use since they probably aren't going to install other operating systems. Sure, Windows ME was a flop, but that was because it caused all sorts of problems with stability and the like. Vista, as far as I know, doesn't have major stability problems and is not a step backwards from XP (although it isn't a step forwards, either). In the next couple of years, millions and millions of computers will be sold, and along with them, millions and millions of copies of Vista will be sold as well since it will most likely be pre-loaded on these computers.

    Microsoft's business model makes pretty much every operating system they make a popular one - As long as there is demand for new computers, there is demand for Vista.

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984