Microsoft screwing up Windows 7, too.

As a Mac OS X and Linux user, I’ve been really happy to see how much Windows Vista sucks, and that people have finally realized that Windows sucks. As a result, I’ve been nervous that they might get their act together with Windows 7, the next iteration of Windows that’s due out within the next year. If they screw that one up, too, that could make the operating system market truly competitive for the first time since the early 1980s. But it looks like there’s no danger of Microsoft getting it right: the “Starter Edition” of Windows 7 will only allow you to run three programs at once. But, don’t worry—you can upgrade to the “Home Premium” edition if you want to run more than iTunes, your browser, and your e-mail application at the same time.

If they’re smart, they won’t even sell the Starter Edition in the U.S., and make the Home Premium the standard edition. Otherwise Microsoft will end up with the same word-of-mouth about Windows 7 that they have with Vista. A lot of folks don’t know the first thing about Vista, but they do know that their cousin/roommate/buddy got a computer with it and it sucks.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

7 replies on “Microsoft screwing up Windows 7, too.”

  1. A lot of folks don’t know the first thing about Vista, but they do know that their cousin/roommate/buddy got a computer with it and it sucks.

    Bingo. I was one of those people for several years. Had a very negative perception of Vista without ever actually using it. Looking back, everybody who told me that Vista sucks was a Mac user. I bought a new home desktop a few months ago with Vista Home Premium as the OS, and it’s fantastic. It’s quick, stable, intuitive… everything an OS is supposed to be.

    Which leads me to think that Apple’s netroots ran a helluva whisper campaign against Vista.

  2. Well, to be fair, Vista was pretty atrocious until it had a large number of updates and a service pack or two sent out. At this point, I enjoy it a lot, but with the caveat that I still needed to end up manually turning off a lot of security features to get here.

    In regards to Windows Starter (as well as Home Basic), they’re intended for developing markets outside of the U.S. Windows Starter may see a little bit of play on the low-end netbook market, but seeing as the minimum specs for Home Premium are only marginally more than Starter, I expect most U.S. netbooks to offer Premium as their basic OS. The real problem Microsoft can’t seem to get is that by discussing all of these different versions, consumers get confused, even though we here in the U.S. will only see and honestly consider Home Premium and Professional. A good rundown can be found here.

    So, while we may not have to deal with what is rightfully crippleware, it still raises the question of a company selling intentionally weaker software in developing nations, when it doesn’t cost any more to produce the full-featured version. To that, I have no defense.

  3. The thing that amazes me is that they say, in effect, “oh you live in a poor country and can’t afford a top of the line PC? You get a crappy user experience!” I don’t see how this can possibly do any good for them. Hopefully someone will airdrop linux install discs wherever Windows 7 Started gets deployed.

  4. Darden issued me a Vista laptop last year as part of the Exec. MBA program.

    As much as this might sound like heresy (given that I’ve been a Linux developer since its very beginnings in the early 1990s), I can’t say that I especially hate it–certainly not as much as I expected I would given all the negative buzz surrounding it.

    Sure, it has its warts: a UVa-managed upgrade went awry awhile back, requiring that I bring it to Darden for sorting out before I even could log back into it, and Outlook’s frequent pauses/hangs/force-quits are a chronic irritant.

    But my iMac G5 also has warts: it frequently loses track of the wireless keyboard; Spaces goes completely spastic from time to time; and the mouse (driver?) often goes senile, with the pointer working but the buttons inop. (requiring a restart).

    As for my stack of home Linux boxes (including two clusters), well, of course they’re all perfect in comparison. :)

  5. A couple disclaimers: I’m a client (and server) software developers targeting Windows machines. I develop on a Windows XP box, and my home PC runs Ubuntu.

    I can tell you, from a developer’s perspective that a lot of the bad word of mouth about Vista comes from one thing: they patched a lot of horrible, horrible things about the Windows security model, and because of that, broke a lot of assumptions written into software.

    The end result? People install Vista, it looks different, it’s unfamiliar and then the cardinal sin of a new OS version: my software doesn’t work! Your apps and your games fail in weird ways, the OS bugs you all the time about security violations, and you’re not getting any exposure at work because your job’s custom inventory tracking system hasn’t gone through testing on Vista either. So you get yourself a copy of XP, let the world know Vista sucks, and you move on.

    I really hope Windows 7 is great and we see the pre-Vista Windowses become history for the same reasons that epidemiologists want people to get vaccinated. I’m sure it’ll still have plenty of security holes (and as always, the ignorant user will continue to be security hole #1), but it’ll help.

    Well, plus since I use Windows at work, it’d be nice to have something better than XP, but I’m honestly pretty cranky about the state of all GUIs today.

  6. My IT support vendor flagged me off of Vista. They get paid to keep my folks productive. To us, Microsoft software is nothing more or less than a traditional appliance that has to work with customer appliances. What they couldn’t save us from was Office2007 for Windows which some pointy-headed Microsoft luminary decided to spruce up with an abomination called “the ribbon”. It turns the Win Office experience upside down. This is what happens when an industry is owned by a monopoly – if they owned the car market Microsoft would change the steering wheel left to right every few years. They would call this “innovation”.

  7. as always, the ignorant user will continue to be security hole #1

    I’ve got this in mind as I see that the Mac botnet is now news. The angle that CNN is going for here is that Macs are now susceptible to malware. But what’s actually going on here is that people are downloading ripped-off versions of Photoshop, which have been rewritten by criminals to include a trojan. So the users are choosing to install software that they know to be unsafe. Apple can’t stop people from being stupid. No computer maker can.

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