Microsoft Execs Burned by Windows Vista

I’m glad I wasn’t the only person who felt burned by Vista when it first launched. I’ve written about my problems running Vista on three fairly new machines and the various problems I encountered. My problems ranged from printers and DVD drives not working to various performance and instability problems.

It’s great to see several Microsoft executives also ran into the same problems and emailed Microsoft CEO, Steve Balmer, to complain.

One executive, Mike Nash, complained he was “burned” so badly by compatibility issues he was left with “a $2100 email machine”.

Steven Sinofsky, the Microsoft executive in charge of Windows, struggled to even get his home printer working with Vista. In an email to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in February last year, Sinofsky outlined reasons why Vista struggled at launch.

He said hardware and software vendors never “really believed we would ever ship [Vista] so they didn’t start the work [on updated drivers] until very late in 2006”.

“People who rely on using all the features of their hardware (like Jon’s Nikon scanner) will not see availability for some time, if ever, depending on the [manufacturer],” Sinofsky wrote.

Ballmer responded with a terse “Righto”.

The “Jon” referred to is Microsoft board member and its former chief operating officer Jon Shirley, who experienced compatibility problems with his Epson printer and scanner and his Nikon film scanner.

You’ve got to love Balmer’s response! Do you think this is a guy who cares about those people who purchased Vista and ran into problems? If he doesn’t care about someone like Jon Shirley, who can certainly afford to upgrade his hardware, I doubt he cares much about the rest of us. The people I know who work for Microsoft DO CARE about their customers, and I’m sure is disheartening to hear such a flippant response from the CEO.

Here’s my take on Vista: The only reason to run Vista is if you purchase a brand new machine and Vista comes standard on your model. I’m running Vista on a new Lenovo X61 without any problems. But I’d strongly recommend sticking with XP on anything else. I run XP at home and Vista at work and I notice very little difference. Both are fairly stable with my XP machine feeling a little faster as desktops usually are. I like how Vista handles pictures, but there are enough annoyances to frustrate power users. I see no need to move to Vista if you’re happy with XP.

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