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Is Microsoft Improving Its Image? 746

nk497 writes "Writer makes the case that Windows 7 is a turning point for Microsoft, and we all might start liking them soon ... 'While it's not winning everyone over, there are real signs that Microsoft has taken criticisms on board where it matters most: in the software and services that it provides. The idea of a faster, slimmer Windows is one that most Vista owners would automatically put on their wishlist, and it seems that Microsoft has genuinely done something about it. It's not just reignited interest in the Windows product line, but it's got users appreciating a fresh approach from Microsoft as well.'"
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Is Microsoft Improving Its Image?

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  • Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:11AM (#26545977) Homepage Journal

    Windows XP = lean
    Windows Vista = fat
    Windows 7 = leaner than Vista = Windows XP

    Or so people keep saying (about XP and Vista).

    Back to square one?

    • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LordKaT ( 619540 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:13AM (#26546017) Homepage Journal

      You know, it's funny, maybe 5 or 6 years ago it would've been:

      Windows 2000 = lean
      Windows XP = bloated

      • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by the_humeister ( 922869 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:19AM (#26546075)

        Almost every operating system has gone through this. All the Linux distributions are "bloated" compared with what we had several years ago. The latest Mac OS X is bloated compared with the prior ones. It happens when you keep adding more and more.

        • Re:Duh (Score:4, Funny)

          by wITTus ( 856003 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:24AM (#26546191) Homepage

          All the Linux distributions are "bloated" [...]

          My Gentoo is not.

        • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mweather ( 1089505 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:26AM (#26546237)

          All the Linux distributions are "bloated" compared with what we had several years ago.

          But we can uninstall the bloat.

          • Re:Duh (Score:4, Interesting)

            by savuporo ( 658486 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:32PM (#26547313)

            Not really. The recent experience i had with that was when i went and installed all the mainstream distros under VirtualBox because i was packaging my code for most of them.
            Some of them come with hundreds of megabytes worth of locale data for obscure languages that i will never ever use, and default to several gigs of installation size, without ever asking if i wanted office productivity suites installed on my dev boxen or not.
            Figuring out and uninstalling the nonnecessary cruft is nontrivial, and often impossible because of deep dependencies between packages, especially in Gnome and KDE desktop suites.

            Yes, i could go with source-based distro and spend weeks tuning everything from scratch, but what does it really give me ? A few gigs of spare disk space ? A small percentage faster load times ? Its not really worth the effort. The truth is, 98% of the "customers" dont care about the bloat per se, so from the software packagers point of view its just easier to live with it.

            • Re:Duh (Score:5, Interesting)

              by nabsltd ( 1313397 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:33PM (#26548325)

              You seem to mostly be talking about "install bloat", not "runtime bloat".

              Although both are bad, I think that these days it's pretty much agreed that using 2GB more hard drive space probably isn't a big deal.

              The problem is that Windows has so many background things running that really are required to do anything useful (like using the network), plus all the extra background tasks that you might not feel you need, but turn out to be required for things like applying updates. A Windows XP install with just the Microsoft standard background tasks takes about 300MB of RAM to do nothing, and Vista is far more bloated than that.

              Good examples:

              • I have a Linux system running MySQL, and it has a backup system that copies the files to a Windows machine using Samba (the Windows machine has the tape backup installed). It does all this while using a grand total of less than 150MB of RAM. It boots just fine with 256MB of RAM (and just as fast as with 1GB).
              • Another Linux box is running Fedora 10 with the Gnome desktop, and is acting as a router and has a few other services enabled (including remote access to the desktop). It uses less than 200MB of RAM to do this. There is no way you could get a Windows install to provide these services on that little RAM.

              This kind of bloat where Microsoft has "important" background programs running that you can't turn off but don't really need just does not happen in a Linux install. Yes, there are some stupid Linux installs that have too many services running by default, but you can just turn off the ones you don't use, and nothing else stops working.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          All the Linux distributions are "bloated" compared with what we had several years ago.

          Some more than others, but at least Linux is easy enough to pare down.

          The latest Mac OS X is bloated compared with the prior ones.

          Perhaps technically, but there has also been extraordinary progress in optimization with succcessive OS X releases. If you have an older Mac, you'd almost always be better off running 10.3 or 10.4 than you would running 10.1 (which managed to be both feature-poor and hardware-intensive.)

        • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Narpak ( 961733 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:54AM (#26546749)
          Of course more features means more resources consumed. I'd argue that bloat isn't the system using more resources, but using more resources on crap you don't need, don't want and/or shouldn't use that much resources.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by roc97007 ( 608802 )

          The latest version of Mac OSX demonstrably runs acceptably on legacy hardware commonly available five years ago. I remember reading in slashdot that Vista "runs fine" on processors 3 Ghz and above. None of my systems are that fast.

          Truth, an OS tends to accumulate bloat with each release. But there is bloat, and there is bloat. The situation is not one of "this is bloated and that is not". Microsoft is unquestionably the front runner in the bloat race, so much so that the requirements of the OS has o

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by theaveng ( 1243528 )

          >>>Almost every operating system has gone through this.

          No not true. In the past Microsoft might say, "XP can run on 128 megabte" and it did. With Vista they claimed it can run on 512 megabyte, and it didn't. It runs like a snail through amber. In the past MS was honest about the minimum requirements but *this* time Microsoft lied, pure and simple, and a lot of people upgraded or bought Vista machines that could not run the OS properly.

          As for Windows 7:

          Will it run on 512 megabyte? No. Then it'

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          DSL 50MB install .... not bloated

          Ubuntu default install is bloated but can be slimmed greatly .... ...XP/Vista/Winodws 7 bloated and cannot be slimmed down...

      • Re:Duh (Score:4, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:20AM (#26546117)

        MS-DOS = lean

        Windows 1.0 = bloated

        (This is mfh [slashdot.org] posting as AC to avoid the karmic nicely hurting damage and such.)

      • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by itsdapead ( 734413 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:30AM (#26546327)

        You know, it's funny, maybe 5 or 6 years ago it would've been:

        Windows 2000 = lean Windows XP = bloated

        Well, yes - because XP has been around for so long, hardware has overtaken it.

        The other thing was that many people (probably the majority) skipped Win2K and the upgrade was straight from 98/ME to XP, so the extra "bloat" was justified by the move from a Mickey Mouse DOS-descended operating system to something substantially more solid.

        • Re:Duh (Score:5, Interesting)

          by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:52AM (#26546709) Homepage Journal

          Well, yes - because XP has been around for so long, hardware has overtaken it.

          That's one thing that annoys me about Microsoft (as well as games companies). When I finally get a fast enough computer for the goddamned program to run well they stop supporting it!

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by plague3106 ( 71849 )

            Don't worry, when you grow up you'll have a job that pays more than Burger King.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        XP *has* gotten pretty bloated.

        Back in the SP1 days, you could run XP acceptably on 256MB of RAM, and pretty decently on 512. Today, 512 feels cramped, and is the bare minimum I'd recommend for running SP3 and all the security patches.

        1GB is a more reasonable minimum if you actually want to use apps. Firefox 3 is hungry enough that it'll use up 100-300MB if you have a lot of tabs open, so you really do need at *least* 1GB to run the OS plus just a web browser, which is really pretty minimal in terms of ap

        • Re:Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

          by BlackSnake112 ( 912158 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:39PM (#26547429)

          But is firefox eating up memory the OS's fault or the people who wrote firefox?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            I don't care if Firefox uses a lot of memory. It's an application. I want my applications to use memory, as much as they need. I'm not complaining about memory usage with regard to apps; just pointing out that that is how much it uses, and therefore that's at least how much I'd like to have left over when the OS is done allocating memory for its processes.

            Again, my point is that Windows XP -- JUST THE OS -- has gone from using 256MB (which if I want to tweak I could strip down to around 160MB if I really

      • by gsgriffin ( 1195771 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:00PM (#26546867)
        You are right in your evaluation. In fact, MS does not design software to fit the slowest or moderate CPU at their anticipated delivery date. They want to design an OS that will be able to stick around and take full advantage of the CPU's and memory advances for several years (at least). This means that several years before the CPU's are developed, they must guess where they will be for the next 5 years and try to take advantage of that processing power to create an OS that will do more than play videos and music.

        The real problem with Vista was the minimum requirements. They allowed far too many PC's around the world that were using 2003 technology run Vista. The newest CPU's and higher memory machines with better Mobo did great with it (once the drivers all became available, of course).

        This was exactly where we started with XP.
        • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:10PM (#26547003) Homepage

          > They want to design an OS that will be able to stick around and take full
          > advantage of the CPU's and memory advances for several years (at least).

          An OS doesn't have to be a bloated pig in order to make use of newer hardware.

          Also keep in mind that there is nothing "new" about 2 and 4 CPU machines
          and Gigabytes of physical memory. These have existed even among PCs for
          a LONG time. It's just that now they are cheap enough to be in your
          average bargain basement desktop PC.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by gsgriffin ( 1195771 )
            Well, let's think about that for a moment. New hardware=new code to run it. A PC has 10 times the hardware options of a Mac and 1000 times more hackers trying to cause problems than a Mac. How much code would you design to run on a gazillion hardware configuration machines that provides more features and not less?

            Do they have more code than you need? Probably. But what you need and I need on the machine are different, and if they cut out some features, either one of us would be complaining about the f
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Svartalf ( 2997 )

      The problem is: Windows 7 != leaner than Vista.

      It only feels that way because they cleaned a few things up.

    • Except the performance tests so far show that the beta of windows 7 outperforms both Vista and XP. It may be similar to xp bloat wise, but if its faster I'll use it. And so long as it doesn't make me click through 8000 goddamned windows to get to network connection properties. Network troubleshooting with vista is a pain in the ass.
    • by benwaggoner ( 513209 ) <ben@waggoner.microsoft@com> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:11PM (#26547019) Homepage

      Windows XP = lean
      Windows Vista = fat
      Windows 7 = leaner than Vista = Windows XP

      I must say that "bloat" is about the least information-laden phrase I hear bandied about :).

      What's a consensus defintion of what it means? Wasteful use of RAM? Any additional use of RAM? Does hard drive space count? What if it's for optional non-RAM loaded stuff like templates?

      Is is bloat for Vista to include a lot of printer drivers in the default image? It wasn't good for Netbooks with small SSD drives, but didn't impact system performance. And I remember lots of complaints about the full install size of Office back in the day, even though that was mainly templates that didn't need to be installed.

      I think it'd be useful if we all were a little more specific about that.

    • Re:Duh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:25PM (#26547229)

      Windows XP = lean
      Windows Vista = fat
      Windows 7 = leaner than Vista = Windows XP

      Actually I think it is more like this

      Windows XP = Coke
      Windows Vista = New Coke [wikipedia.org]
      Windows 7 = Classic Coke

      Sales of "Classic" Coke skyrocketed when it was RE-introduced to the market. People hoarded it just in case Coca Cola discontinued it again. I see sales of 7 to be quite brisk at launch. Whether you like Vista or not prevailing public opinion is not favorable so anything that replaces it should do well.

  • by m93 ( 684512 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:13AM (#26546011)
    "and we all might start liking them soon..."

    Hi. You must be new here...
    • by bobcat7677 ( 561727 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:59PM (#26547765) Homepage
      FOSS bias aside, it will take a lot more then a less broken flagship OS for the general IT community to like them again. They also need to stop removing features from new editions of server products like they did in SQL 2008 and Exchange 2007. And start focusing on quality and usability over useless "new" features. It took me 2 weeks on the phone with support to get the latest edition of CRM installed on my company's domain. Why? Because some developer used a library from another project that caused the CRM install to look for Active Directory entries that are totally unrelated to anything CRM does and kill the install if they are not there. After numerous escalations we finally got to someone who knew about the problem and was able to help me setup the random stuff that needed to be there, but all I got was a weak apology...no indication that they actually intend to fix the problem.(hint: if you have Office Communications Server installed on your domain before you install CRM, you are probably ok). How about the PDF render bug in Reporting Services 2005? They know all about it, no indication that they intend to fix it though. STMP component bugs in SSIS? I could be here all day...
  • First Post (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:13AM (#26546015)

    Though, since I am using Windows 7 beta, it might take a little while...

  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:14AM (#26546019)

    The authors here are just having a laugh, aren't they?

  • by Zecheus ( 1072058 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:16AM (#26546053)
    Has reviews of Windows 7 said anything other than: 'this is a prettier hog than vista, but still a hog.'? If so, I would agree, the image is improving, at least.
  • by Darundal ( 891860 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:17AM (#26546055) Journal
    ...of them trying to take control of their image, as opposed to letting it be defined by journalists/other people with opinions/competing companies.
  • No (Score:4, Funny)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:18AM (#26546067) Homepage Journal

    The Jerry ads destroyed MSFT's already fucked up image, by making it more fucked up.

    In order to get their image repaired they have to embrace Linux, and Open Source and then they can claim to be pioneers again, like when they pioneered a UI based OS by copying Apple.

  • but (Score:4, Informative)

    by oliverthered ( 187439 ) <oliverthered@h[ ]ail.com ['otm' in gap]> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:18AM (#26546069) Journal

    But isn't Windows 7 just a service pack for Vista? From what's been touted about it doesn't look and leaner or meaner they've just put some speed improvements into the UI to make it look faster.

    The majority of the stuff under the hood is still vista so people will probably have the same problems.

    • Re:but (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lysergic.acid ( 845423 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:45AM (#26546587) Homepage

      that's a pretty clever ploy when you think about it. Vista is way too bloated for current machines, which has been a major hindrance to widespread adoption. but by waiting for consumer desktops to catch up to Vista's hardware requirements, they can appear to have developed a faster OS simply be re-releasing Vista under a different name with some slight UI modifications. and by the time Windows 7 is released it'll be as stable as an OS that's been out for 4-5 years.

    • Re:but (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:51AM (#26546685) Journal

      But isn't Windows 7 just a service pack for Vista?

      No. Service packs from Microsoft doesn't come with new features on the scale of new task bar systems, federating search to external data sources via OpenSearch, revised UAC, etc. Even the most extreme service pack thus far, Windows XP SP2, mostly focused just on security and a (too) simplistic firewall to solve urgent trojan problems.

      Windows 7 could perhaps be called Windows Vista SE though, if the brand name wasn't as tainted. But I don't think MS would ever do a service pack release on this scale with touches throughout the OS, although many still minor. The normal SP from Microsoft is mostly just security fixes with under-the-hood changes like supporting new standards or hardware.

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:19AM (#26546083)

    Microsoft's goal is to be like cable TV.

    You pay about $50 a month to use their O/S. And then you pay an extra $10 a month for Word, or get the Premium package with Word, Excel, and Access for $20.

    Is this where you want to be in 5 years?

    I prefer to own, not rent my own PC.
    I prefer to own, not rent my applications.

    I want my applications to be mine and my data to be mine so that I do not lose access to them arbitrarily.

    Microsoft is a big scammy company that provides extremely easy to use products that work reasonably well.
    I don't like them as a company but I can deal with that.
    I do like their ease of use and will miss it but the free competition is now only a couple years behind microsoft (and gaining).

    But I won't be lead to market to slaughter and end up renting their OS and applications at the rates they desire.

  • by internerdj ( 1319281 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:21AM (#26546135)
    It has been awhile since I've been excited about upgrading to a new OS. Why should I go to Windows 7? I just haven't seen the feature jump with the latest windows versions that seemed to happen between earlier versions.
    • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:36PM (#26547373) Journal

      Honestly, I think you just touched on the BIGGEST problem Microsoft has in today's marketplace.

      They've mostly reached a point where they can't seem to excite people with what they're doing. It takes a massive effort for them to simply release something "stable/solid, yet boring".

      I mean, the days are over when you had transitions like going from the all-text world of MS-DOS to a whole new paradigm, found in Windows 3.x. Or again, the huge jump from that to Windows '95. Those were big, ballsy changes to widely adopted standards that people generally were excited and eager to try out.

      They really tried to drum up Vista as yet another huge change from the world of XP, but it just wasn't really there. And now, they're working hard just to make Windows 7 the product they hyped Vista up to be initially. So no matter how good 7 is? Many people will yawn, and say "About time!" or "Why aren't you giving me this thing free, since I got screwed over buying your last OS?"

      The original article takes some shots at Apple, saying:

      "Just look at the slickness of the Apple PR machine, an operation that has conveniently blinded the mass market to issues such as digital rights management, the heavy pursuit of websites that leak news early and a general level of control freakery that, if practiced by Microsoft, would cause major ructions."

      I disagree. MS products have just as much DRM built into them. In fact, my experience with their DRM was far less pleasant than with Apple's - because they had a lot more glitches with theirs. (I remember having a Yahoo Music subscription, for example, where I had random weird issues with songs taking a LONG time to start playing. I never knew exactly when Windows Media Player would decide it needed to refresh its authorization token or whatever - and had delays getting what it wanted from the authorization server.)

      Reality is, Apple still knows how to dazzle people with their product updates. Even when they borrow ideas that were already done elsewhere, they put polish on them and introduce them to people who would have NEVER seen the original efforts. They haven't made moves to alienate their customer base like "Product activation" either. THAT'S the difference, really.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:21AM (#26546139)

    Wow an article on Slashdot that doesn't say Microsoft is a total failure at everything it does. For a second I thought Slashdot was the one starting to change, but then I read the replies...

  • Only to some (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:22AM (#26546145)
    For my part, Microsoft will only improve its image when they remove DRM support from the OS and its bundled applications (IE, Media Player).
  • Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toreo asesino ( 951231 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:23AM (#26546165) Journal

    Microsoft donates to Apache [sdtimes.com]
    Microsoft donates to moonlight [slashdot.org]
    Microsoft supports ODF [infoworld.com]
    IE to be standards compliant by default [arstechnica.com]
    Microsoft assist SAMBA team with interop [infoworld.com] ...and of course, the "Windows 7 might actually be rather good" article in TFA.

    Maybe; just maybe, Microsoft isn't the evil machine some slashdotters make out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      IE to be standards compliant by default

      That was because Opera forced them to [opera.com], not because they wanted to look like nice guys. They just didn't want more fines.

      • utter rubbish (Score:3, Informative)

        by nobodyman ( 90587 )

        That was because Opera forced them to [opera.com], not because they wanted to look like nice guys.

        Sorry, but this is laughable. With a marketshare that is measured in fractions of a percent, Opera isn't going to force anybody to do anything. It might have something to do with threats from the EU. And before you start: no, Opera didn't force the EU to do that either.

    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:45AM (#26546599) Journal

      "Evil" often comes from being beyond consequences. And Microsoft had unassailable power it seemed for a while. But now you have Google and a resurgent Apple laying into them. Maybe MS have started to realise the benefits of good relations with their customer base and other players in the IT world, e.g. they're complying with standards.
    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AceofSpades19 ( 1107875 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:49AM (#26546647)
      Except for that part where they bribed iso
  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:23AM (#26546167) Homepage Journal


    Maybe we should wait until, you know, Windows 7 actually comes out to find if it's the best thing since sliced bread or the worst thing since Gitmo. Vista was supposed to be the awesome super duper OS everyone would love that would make everyone want to give Ballmer hugs for, but it turned out to (from what I read) be a stinking pile of dogshit.

    Frankly, given their history at Microsoft, I have no doubt to give them the benefit of. They're going to have to deliver a slim, fast, stable OS and I'll actually have to try it before I believe a word of it.

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Microsoft is going to have to prove itself.

  • by FredFredrickson ( 1177871 ) * on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:24AM (#26546193) Homepage Journal
    People will say whatever they want- on slashdot, that will be MS bashing and MS loving. But think about this honestly, and answer honestly- I think it is helping.

    I, for one, prefer windows over linux, and the thought that Windows 7 is better than vista makes me excited to try it. My main machine is still XP, but I've got Vista at work and on my laptop, and I just can't stand it. Anybody who says vista is good is somebody who only tries websurfing- not actually trying to get something done.

    Now, if only they got rid of the pesky sys requirements of windows. I don't want to need 4gb of RAM minimum to get things running smoothly. I want things to run with 512 as smoothly as XP does, and allow the extra 3.5 gb of memory to give me extra performance with other programs.
  • by hodet ( 620484 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:27AM (#26546251)
    2009 will be the year of Windows on the desktop?
  • by Shuh ( 13578 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:27AM (#26546257) Journal

    It's not just reignited interest in the Windows product line, but it's got users appreciating a fresh approach from Microsoft as well.

    I love it when the scrappy little come-from-behind underdog is able to pull itself up by the bootstraps and get from a measly 89% market-share all the way back up to 95%. It renews my faith in the hope and outright tenacity of the little guy!

  • Not Windows 7 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by michaelmalak ( 91262 ) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:32AM (#26546347) Homepage
    Windows 7 wasn't the turning point for Microsoft. It was Bush. Compared to Bush, Bill Gates was no longer the personification of evil.

    There is also a business-related issue. Microsoft is now the underdog compared to Google. Google gave away a free desktop sidebar, and now Microsoft has made that obsolete by bundling in their own with Vista and Windows 7. A decade ago, there would have been howls of monopolization, and using Windows to enter an adjacent market. Today, nothing. Today it is seen as Microsoft defending its desktop turf against Google's Internet challenge.

  • by Dan667 ( 564390 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:34AM (#26546397)
    Until microsoft makes the end customer who actually uses their products their only focus (and not the RIAA and all these other distractions) and goes back to courting developers like they did when they were successful there will be no significant change. Windows 7 will be more of the same.
  • Ballmer has to go (Score:5, Interesting)

    by david.emery ( 127135 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:36AM (#26546417)

    If Microsoft wants me to "like them":
      1. Ballmer has to go. This guy is just offensive. Between the combat metaphors and the chair tossing, I can't respect any company run by this guy. AND, he's doing a poor job of running Microsoft.

      2. The 'kinder/gentler Microsoft' has to become more open. That means opening up APIs and stop trying to manipulate standardization processes.

      3. They have to improve their product quality. That will be a huge challenge given their code base, and maybe Windows 7 will be a substantial quality improvement. The record for Microsoft seems to be "every other product is OK" (Win 98 was much better than Win 95, Win XP is much better than Win 2k, hopefully Win 7 will be much better than Vista."

      4. They also need to pay attention to both Apple and to their own research arm, and start -innovating-rather than blindly copying what others are doing.

      5. Until 1..4 are achieved, I'm not going to like Microsoft. More importantly, I'll not even consider a car (e.g. Ford) that has Microsoft products in it, and the idea of the current Microsoft trying to "fix health care records" scares the fertilizer out of me.

    Just my $.02...

  • by Vexorian ( 959249 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:43AM (#26546555)
    New tag: writerwillwinalaptop [google.com]
  • by MythoBeast ( 54294 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:48AM (#26546631) Homepage Journal

    "Oh, wow, maybe people won't just buy whatever crap we try to shove down their throats. This is going to take a bit of rethinking of our strategy..."

    Sorry, couldn't resist. I understand that the automobile industry is going through the same realization. We can hope that a few others might get the clue...

  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:09PM (#26546999)
    Hey Microsoft, want to improve your image?

    1: Remove all the Vista DRM crap out of Windows 7. It's my computer, not Hollywood's.
    2: Interoperate better with Open Office and support their open standard in MSWord, not your own.
    3: No more per processor licensing agreements. If we want Windows at purchase time we'll ask for it ourselves.

    While there's more, get started on this list now!
  • by dr.banes ( 823348 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:23PM (#26547215)
    I've used XP for years, I recently upgraded to Vista 64 bit Ultimate. While it was nice and all, the OS took up 24GB on a 30GB partition and I did not install anything. Talk about bloat, it was straight crap. I then decided to give Windows 7 32 bit a try and have not looked back. While there are a few quirks with certain programs, I have yet to have a BSOD or anything. Actually, it encountered a problem installing paint.net and gave the exact steps to fix it. I did not have to google or search arcane MS Knowledge base articles. It was a simple copy and paste to edit a registry setting and boom it fixed the problem. Vista is the equivalent of an over budget Hollywood blockbuster flop. If Windows 7 is making up for that then keep going. Please keep it lean.
  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:38PM (#26547409) Homepage

    Microsoft is most certainly improving its image with Windows 7. They appear to be getting a lot of things right. They've improved system latency due to I/O over what was present in even XP, and the system is surprisingly stable (for a beta, of course).

    Couple this with the fact that the Linux I/O scheduler appears to have moved away from a model which works well on the Linux desktop. For about the last year or so, Linux kernels have resulted in very latent desktop utility during even moderate burst-type I/O (programs/files loading, access of swap - not prologued disk writes). This may or may not be related to the bug supposedly introduced into the kernel in 2.6.18 - I don't know, I haven't personally tested it. But what I do know is that this behavior has become progressively more evident over the past 8 years: I blame the server-centric development focus in the kernel (2.2 and prior were blindingly responsive on the desktop).

    With the fact that Linux desktop performance is somewhat lackluster these days giving it a perceived performance more on par with what Vista is capable of, I can see how it would sour people in preference for Windows 7, when Windows 7 appears to implement things properly - or, at least in a way which works to user expectations.

    I should note that I've been personally using Linux (mostly Debian, some Ubuntu and OpenSuse) almost exclusively since around 2000. I don't make these criticisms lightly, and personally say it more as an admonishment of the Linux developers/community than I do as a proponent of W7. Whether it's a good product or not, I can not ethically approve of vendor lock in to the extent that MS software use encourages.

    (Side note: has anyone noticed how W7's window effects/widgets (to the exception of the "MS-specific blurry/imperfect glass semi-transparent menus) looks shockingly like the bastard child of KDE 4 and OS X 10.5? I thought the first W7 screenshot I saw actually was KDE4 with a 'lookalike' theme.)

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:42PM (#26547485) Homepage

    Microsoft has placed some serious burdens on users, developers and systems administrators with Windows Vista. They are completely unapologetic for it. People cling to their Windows XP CDs as they would to a life raft.

    Microsoft responds with PR ads like "Mojave" completely forgetting that people are annoyed not only by the user interface, but also by the things they can't do or the fact that it takes more horsepower and/or capacity to perform at the same level they experienced with WinXP.

    Windows 7 does not appear to address any of the concerns that people have with Windows Vista. If someone would be so kind, I would like to see some sort of list of changes between Windows Vista and Windows 7. Are hardware requirements lower? Are annoying UI issues addressed?

    Don't get me wrong -- I really want to see Windows 7 resolve the problems of Vista because the future presently makes me a little uncomfortable. But when I see clever hackers repackaging Windows XP and Windows Vista into "lite" Windows distros that are remarkably small and remarkably fast, very compatible and capable, I have to wonder what Microsoft is most interested in? It has been demonstrated over and over again what is POSSIBLE and I am sure Microsoft is aware of it. So why aren't they?

    We can speculate all day long and never arrive at the truth unless Microsoft acknowledges the truth. But terms like "defective by design" are well earned when it comes to Microsoft. They aren't doing what they could. One is forced to assume that they have motives for not making their Windows releases as fast as they could be. What those motives are, precisely, is where most of the speculation occurs. I think it is because Windows is used to prop up other activities; activities of Microsoft and of other parties such as big media interests.

  • by mcnazar ( 1231382 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:45PM (#26547529)

    I see the Redmond shill machine is in full swing now. First it gobbles up MSZD.Net. Now another publication is releasing "features" on how "performant" and "fantastic" Windows 7 is.

    Bull Fraking Shit.

    Windows 2000 and NT 4 was as lean as it got! Want a reminder? Load up Windows NT Server 4.0 in a virtual machine and see how much resources are being used.

    20 fraking MB!

    Even XP is bloated! Ever wonder why Windows Explorer sometimes takes a few seconds to create a folder on a Quad Core 3.0GHZ 4GB machine? A second on this machine has probably 1000 times more processing power than the Voyager probe and the Apollo 11 Moon lander (if you believe in all that). Yet I have to wait and twiddle my thumbs...

    Its been downhill since Windows 2000. That OS ran gorgeously on my dual Pentium III 350 (250MB). XP pigged that machine in the space of time it took to install XP.

    I company I worked at recently still used NT 4 to run SQL Server... and it ran like the wind... until a US company took us over and due to Sarbanes Oxley (read "license to print money" from a Redmon/corporate friendly regime) we had to upgrade to SQL Server 2099 (which sucked and was oh so .Net slow), Exchange 3059 (which sucked and was oh so .Net bloated) and a Server OS that gobbled up about 15 gig RAM just on startup.

    OK. I exaggerate... but you get the picture.

    I was tempted to pull out my old faithful PIII 350 (which happily runs Linux now) and install Windows 7... but why bother?

    These days I console myself by liberating PCs from Windows and getting refunds for bundled Vista + Works licenses (thats £120 + vat in Blighty) on all PC purchases.

  • by stonewolf ( 234392 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:02PM (#26547799) Homepage

    In my heart I am still a software developer, a hardcore IT guy and a Linux advocate... In 30 years I worked for 5 start ups blah blah blah. Lots of hardcore techy cred if I want to pull it.

    But, now days I make most of my income as a teacher and I make most of that teaching money teaching basic computer literacy and MS Office to people on the wrong side of the digital divide. These are not stupid people, they are not old people, most are under 25 but some are as old as 65. All are high school graduates and some have college degrees. They just don't know much about how to use a computer. They never learned and they don't care about anything but getting their job done.

    I dare say that they represent a fairly large percentage of todays population.

    You know what? While most of them (not all) have heard of Microsoft, they have no strong opinion of the company one way or the the other. To them windows are something that you open when you want fresh air and for some weird reason is also what makes using a computer hard or easy (depends on the person). If they know the difference between XP and Vista it is because they learned a little about using a computer with XP and then bought a computer with Vista and they are pissed because the it is different from the one they learn on. (OTOH, there is a small percentage who stumbled upon Vista and love it.)

    They don't buy any thing from MS. What they have from MS came on the computer. In most cases the only software they ever buy are games and mostly they buy games for their consoles. They down load games for PCs because they can, and as one student so bluntly put it "How can it be illegal when it is so easy?"

    What I am trying to say is that for the people I teach Microsoft is like the road they drive to work. They only notice it when there is a problem with it. When there is a problem, they don't blame MS, if anything they blame the company who made the computer. From their point of view rebooting windows is just like driving around a chuckhole or getting stuck in traffic. It happens, shit happens, the live with it. They don't even think about the possibility that it shouldn't happen, because it has always happened.

    They do not have an opinion about MS. They don't see MS. They don't buy from MS.

    Microsoft has become like the air in a big city, you only complain about it when you can see it. And, Microsoft has taken great care to make sure they are not seen, they are just there, like transparent but polluted air.

    Out side of IT and the small number of IT enthusiasts in the world, nobody has an opinion about MS.


  • Viral marketing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:16PM (#26548029)

    Clearly this time around Microsoft is taking the proper approach to Marketing and starting a Viral Marketing campaign early enough to, in the minds of the consumers, build a positive image for their new OS before the cold shower of reality start pouring down.

    I especially like the part where they keep comparing Windows 7 with Windows Vista (which is crap) instead of comparing it with Windows XP (the last good OS they made) - great way to nudge the online reviews and opinions to use an absurdly low basis of comparison AND get the suckers^H^H^H^H experimentalists that bought Windows Vista to upgrade again.

    To however is behind this Marketing campaign: I salute you!

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.