that must hurt

Ouch, Forbes unleashes some criticism on Microsoft. Well deserved IMHO. I don’t see the result of six years of development by thousands of software engineers reflected in the currently marketed featureset.

A few small predictions:

  • Vista and office 2007 (or whatever it is called) are going to go into history as the two releases that reversed the growth trend in microsoft marketshare. I expect both products to do worse than their predecessors. First of all, businesses won’t touch either until forced by licensing conditions. Second of all, some businesses might opt for alternatives this time. Particularly Novell seems to be well positioned this time. Also Google will push some lightweight services into the market before the Vista release that are remarkably well suited for adoption in small businesses.
  • I expect this to have consequences for the current leadership. Specifically, I expect Steve & Bill to be pushed to the side lines after this.
  • I expect this to be the last major revision of windows this decade. They may think they are going to do another release before 2010 but reality will catch up with them. In fact, I expect that Vista will be the last time they can justify the insane R&D budget to the shareholders. Six years of development resulting in replacement purchases only is going to be a tough sell to shareholders.
  • Clearly after six years of development, Microsoft stands empty handed. The shares are due for a downward correction. Things are not going well for Microsoft and they are underperforming.
  • This is not the last delay for Vista. They are hoping it will be ready but their development process is the reason it is being delayed so they can’t actually know right now that they will have a release in 365 days. My guess is that they won’t.
  • Customer feedback on the yet to be announced additional beta will cause them to drop more features from Vista. Particularly the userinterface is going to get some heavy criticism (performance, general uglyness) and negative publicity. Something will need to be done about it. After dropping the features, they will move to release candidate status which may last quite a bit longer than they are now planning for.

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