"We're living in a different world today," Microsoft Vice President Tami Reller said in an interview with CNET News.
The world is a lot different. That's for sure. It's not the same world that Bill Gates successfully launched Windows 95 into, causing a great stir in the world of personal computing. Anti-Microsoft prejudices aside, I don't know if Microsoft knows this 'new world.'
It's a world where flashy and appealing advertising, and a 'hip' CEO makes your software and hardware seem cool (e.g. Apple). It's a world where free as in beer is the norm, and things don't have to be perfect, but if they work okay and solve problems, people stick around (e.g. Google, Twitter). It's a world where office and work communication and collaboration are no longer tied to a certain computer or operating system—it's all done online (e.g. everyone but Microsoft).
Do they know what they're doing? I don't know. Vista was a flop, that's for sure. Windows 7 is much more solid, stable and secure, of course... it's basically Vista, but done correctly. But that doesn't matter so much. What matters is that Microsoft's operating system works well, gets out of the user's way, and costs nothing, or as close to nothing as possible.
The OS now works well, so Microsoft gets a point there. But Windows 7 is still not refined enough or kind enough to be a serious operating system—it feels to me somewhat like Mac OS 10.1 felt like—nice and stable compared to 10.0, but still way too gaudy, with candy-stripe lines, bright bubbly colors, and too much 'bling' to do serious work. Also, Microsoft loses big time on the cost aspect. A guy like me couldn't survive without business premium, and that would set me back more than two Hamiltons. The only software packages I have ever spent that much money on are Final Cut Express and Adobe Creative Suite—and those programs replaced multi-thousand dollar solutions in days past, so in essence they're dirt cheap.
C'mon Microsoft: up the ante. I'm not going to buy Office ever again, since I work in the cloud, with local backups, so you're going to have to get me on your OS. That's not going to happen unless you hit 3/3. Give Apple something to mock, and maybe I'll consider you.