Microsoft Windows Vista has arrived. Hundreds (if not thousands) of blog entries are already posted about it. David Pogue of the New York Times pointed out that Microsoft has “deliberately exploited a weak spot in today’s court of public opinion: how bloggers influence consumers, but generally don’t have conflict-of-interest policies.” He was referring to the news report that important bloggers had received Acer Ferrari laptops, which can sell for more than $2,200, from Microsoft. According to the New York Times, a spokeswoman for Microsoft confirmed that the company had sent out “about 90 computers to bloggers who write about technology and other subjects” to get them up to speed using Vista so that they can write their posts.
Well, here’s one blogger that didn’t get any free PC. Here are a few others — Fred Davis writes about a debate he participated in with Robert Scoble, Mac OSX vs. Windows Vista.
With eight editions of Windows Vista, one can expect confusion. If you eliminate the two specifically designed to cater to the European Union (with Windows Media technology removed) and the Starter edition for low-income countries (as defined by the World Bank), that leaves five. If you work at a large organization, chances are you’ll be using Windows Vista Enterprise, an edition available only through volume licensing deals for large organizations participating in Microsoft’s Software Assurance program. That leaves four. Of these, the least expensive (Home Basic) is not worth the effort for power Windows users, and the most expensive (Ultimate) and most desirable, at $399, is just too expensive. That leaves the Business and Home Premium editions, which are targeted to different types of customers.
And then there is the question of Vista’s touted security, even with the Ultimate edition. Webroot Software, as reported in The Guardian (“Virus warnings as Microsoft launches Vista” by Bobbie Johnson), announced that the new Windows Defender program failed to block 84% of viruses — including 15 of the most common pieces of malicious code. In any case, people who want to upgrade from Windows XP to Vista to improve security are in for a sticker shock. Only Windows Vista Ultimate — the most expensive edition — offers the maximum level of protection. Will the less expensive editions offer enough protection? Microsoft stands to gain from the confusion.
With Vista’s hardware requirements, upgrading an existing PC is problematic at best. But Vista is about buying a new computer. And you can bet that computer retailers are loading the less expensive versions. In fact, according to some reports, it is rare to find Vista Ultimate preloaded on new PCs. Dell, Gateway and HP charge $170, $160 and $120, respectively on top of what you already pay for Vista Home Premium.
So this is the choice Windows user have? “Upgrading to Vista is pretty expensive, not only the new software but often new hardware as well,” said Gartner analyst John Pescatore in “Experts: Don’t buy Vista for the security” by Joris Evers (CNET News.com). “If you put IE 7 on a Windows XP SP2 PC, along with the usual third-party firewall, antiviral and antispyware tools, you can have a perfectly secure PC if you keep up with the patches.”
If you keep up with the patches… Good luck with that!
P.S. Apple offers one desktop version of Mac OS X at a single price for individual copies. You pay $129 and get it all, compared to $399 for Windows Ultimate.