|What were we thinking!?|
That's the essence of the message from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer this week, who made some remarkably candid comments (for Microsoft, anyway) about the failures of Windows Vista and his hopes for the future.
In new comments, Ballmer referred to the Vista debacle as having been an issue of "some uneven reception" because "we made some design decisions to improve security at the expense of compatibility."
That's putting it mildly -- Vista was initially hampered by massive hardware incompatibility problems, awful performance, and interface changes that often felt random, all leading to savage reviews and a massive user backlash -- but it is at least a recognition, however slight, that Vista hasn't been a runaway success, an idea that Microsoft has been crazily clinging to ever since Vista launched.
But in Ballmer's view, this is all good news. With PC sales down up to 15 percent from their high, Microsoft is hoping that Windows 7's release a mere two weeks from now will unleash a torrent of demand for computers and, of course, all of Microsoft's software products as well.
Will it pan out that way? While Windows 7 has started to see the first signs of a backlash, with a few critical reports bubbling up as we get closer to launch, the outlook still seems overwhelmingly positive, with high hopes that Windows 7 will be a hit. Whether that is due to Win 7's merits alone or because users are so extremely jaded with the capabilities of Windows Vista and will accept anything so they can be rid of it remains to be seen.