Monday, March 22, 2010


It took over 5 years to develop Windows Vista and just a few weeks to bury deep down its reputation, dragging along that of Microsoft's. No other major product in the History of Software has aroused so much contempt derision and yes, hatred. Not every company lives to see the day when its customers beg, plead and sign petitions to bring back the previous version of its flagship product.

A search in Google for "I hate Vista" (note the quotation marks), returns nothing less than 878,300 results, among which you'll find titles like:

The common argument usually sounds something similar to this:
"I hate vista because this is the first operating system where I felt and continuously feel my computer does not belong to me."

But it won't take Microsoft five years to produce the next Windows. The company wants to put Vista behind it as soon as possible. In fact, the next version of Windows is almost here already. It’s called Windows 7, and it looks and feels a lot like Vista. In fact, what Microsoft seems to be aiming for in Windows 7 is a fixed version of Vista, with more than a few borrowings from Mac OS X.

For example, the Windows 7 taskbar looks and works like Mac OS X’s Dock: a row of big, square program icons representing your favorite programs, whether they’re running or not. It has taken over the launching functions of the old Quick Launch Toolbar.

Other Apple borrowings: desktop wallpaper that changes at regular intervals. A yellow sticky-notes program. A simple menu of available wireless networks. “Private browsing,” in which your adults-only Web exploits leave no tracks in the History list or anywhere else. Jump lists (useful shortcut menus that pop out of the taskbar icons). And, on specially equipped laptops, multitouch gestures borrowed from the iPhone’s, such as being able to rotate an image by twisting two fingers on the screen, pinch to zoom, etc.

For decades, Microsoft’s primary strategy has been to put out something mediocre, and then remake it until it succeeds. That’s what’s exciting about the prospect of Windows 7. It’s Windows Vista but without the crap.

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