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According to a report in ComputerWorld [computerworld.com],
Microsoft has not responded to the market, is overburdened by nearly two decades of legacy code and decisions, and faces serious competition on a whole host of fronts that will make Windows moot unless the software developer acts.
The report also notes that Forrester found "only 6.3% of 50,000 enterprise computer users it surveyed were working with Vista. What gains Vista made during its first year, added Forrester, appeared to be at the expense of Windows 2000..."
The penetration of Windows in today's systems is so deep that it certainly won't be disappearing anytime soon. The corporate markets alone will keep Windows for decades to come.
Where Windows will have trouble is the smaller device markets. Windows Mobile has a solid presence, but a smaller, faster footprint seems to be the trend for a lot of devices coming out today.
If history is our guide, MS != smaller/faster
It would seem to be counter to the culture, which is to cram as many features as possible into any application regardless of performance or bloat. MS has always seemed to believe that faster hardware was the solution to performance problems.
One of the biggest problems with Vista is that a lot of older software will not run on it. So in addition to the expense of buying a new O/S (and the upgraded hardware needed to run it) comes even more expenses of buying upgraded software.
Then there is the training issue. M$ loves to change things around so that new versions of software & O/S almost require re-learning the whole thing from scratch.
True, there are similar issues with every O/S upgrade, but Vista seems to be worse than previous ones.
One of the biggest problems with Vista is that a lot of older software will not run on it.
My computer's getting a bit older but I still have no plans to replace it or the OS. It used to be I kept my monitor and upgraded my box every year or so. Now I'm keeping the box and upgrading the monitor every year or so.
I think a point has been reached (and was reached about the time they came out with P4 2.4's) where general business/office functionality runs seamlessly and fast and there's no pressing need to upgrade or change speed or functionality. And that may have an impact on Vista penetration. Not buying a new computer, the old one (and OS) is running fine.
Norton AV Corporate Edition
Being in the IT field, I've always had to have the newest for the sake of the newest. It was fun, and educational to my career to work on the cutting edge. Now I need to be productive and economical. Which means getting every last drop out of my hardware. There is nothing I plan to run on my computer in even the next 3 years that will require the hardware that vista needs.
Then Vista comes out and stuff like Photoshop 6 and 7 won't run on it! (I know someone who had to upgrade to CS just to use Photoshop. Do you spot a conspiracy here?)
Why couldn't Vista be made to run ALL software, no matter how old? Probably because it's a complete rewrite of the Windows system.
In retrospect it might have been better to upgrade XP indefinitely instead. Though I am not sure if the code behind it will allow this. Microsoft must have had a good reason to ditch the code for Vista. (I know security was one reason touted for introducing Vista.)
Now look at Apple when they released Leopard. Did it mean lots of programs that used to run on Tiger no longer worked? No, it was a natural progression of the operating system. Sure, some programs need to be updated here and there, but otherwise it was OK. I imagine the next upgrade to OS X will be just as smooth.
I'm guessing that Apple 'got it right' years back, and are just improving OS X gradually, a bit like human evolution occured in the past. Whereas Microsoft give the impression that they 'got it wrong' with XP (full of security holes) and had to rewrite it. Now they've 'got it wrong' with Vista too, and it'll be Windows 7 before they finally get a stable version worth upgrading to.