It certainly sounded like Microsoft leadership committed to us, our customers, our partners, and our shareholders that Vista would be out in 2006.
We should have asked for more details around the "or else" part of that commitment.
I was upset at missing the back-to-school market. Now we're missing the holiday sales market. All of those laptops and PCs are going to have XP on it. What percentage will upgrade to Vista? Well, I guess that's the little dream that I need to give up on. Vista's deployment is going to come from people buying CPUs with the OS pre-installed, not dancing down the CompUSA aisle as they clutch that boxed version of Vista to their loving chest. So not only did we miss last year's opportunity, we're missing this year's opportunity, too. With the convergence of high-tech media, this holiday season would have been an explosive nodal point to get Vista out for a compounded effect.
Personally, I've been holding off of buying a laptop and a new mega-big-iron PC until Vista is done. I'm super-excited to get Vista Ultimate on that new PC and be able to hook Media Center up to my Xbox 360. And now I'll wait.
In my afternoon daydream, after Allchin's email went out, I imagined all the L68+ partners from the Windows division gathered together and told, "You are our leadership. When we succeed, it is directly because of how you lead and manage your teams. When we fail, it is directly because of how you lead and manage your teams. We've had enough of failure and we've had enough of you. Drop off your badge on the way out. Your personal belongings will be dropped off at your house. Now get out of my sight."
Sigh. Well, I'd settle for the version: "... When we fail, it is directly because of how you lead and manage your teams. We reward success. We do not reward failure, especially sustained failure that has directly affected this company, its future, and its stock price. You will not receive any incentives this year. You will not receive a bonus. You will not get a raise. You will not be awarded stock."
People need to be fired and moved out of Microsoft today. Where's the freakin' accountability?
In the meantime, the discussion of how you'd sell Vista in 30-seconds to a non-techy consumer hasn't come up with much Abbie-understandable reasons other than "cooler games!" Sure, Abbie probably spends a lot of time with solitaire and minesweeper, so that's good. But most of it focuses either on issues so deep and technical that the average consumer is going to shrug and say, "Hell, I don't think I need any of that!" or on issues that make you think that XP is a ticking time-bomb of unstable code ready to explode 1s and 0s over anyone who looks at it wrong. And as for Alpha Geeks and super-users, it sounds like LUA is going to be a daily pain in the patootie.
The good news? Well, we've got plenty of time to conjure up reasons why Vista is going to be better than XP in a way that anyone can understand and agree with. Plus $500 million to spend doing it.
Oy. Oy. Oy.
Updated: added the Channel9 link.