Windows Beast-a

Guest Column – Lena West, xynoMedia – I’d love to meet whomever is in charge of product releases over at Microsoft. I’ve got a few choice words for them.
All of our clients are asking how switching to Windows Beast-a (ahem…Vista) fits with their IT strategy. Do you think we should switch? Should we switch now or later? Which is most cost effective? Do we have to switch? What gains would it give us if we switch? What do we lose if we don’t?

They can’t help but ask – the Vista release – and Bill Gates’ face – is all over the news and the morning shows. Not to mention that Microsoft been ‘releasing’ it since 2005…but, I digress.
The short story is Microsoft has, yet again, released an ‘improved’ product and their version of improvements has begat a slew of technology challenges for the rest of the World. And, in true Microsoft fashion, they’ve left it for us to attempt to figure it out.
The long story…well, I’ll try to organize that into some logical steps:

  1. Microsoft operating systems have typically had *serious* security issues (that’s putting it mildly).
  2. Microsoft releases Vista with significantly stronger security.
  3. The manufacturers who make PC peripherals (printers, network cards, wirless cards, modems, routers, etc.) have not created new software code (drivers) for their products based on the tighted security in Vista.
  4. Because Vista has been “coming out” for *years*, many manufacturers don’t have plans to address this for months – some even years!
  5. All the drivers for peripherals that USED to work on the old, loose-security Microsoft operating systems, no longer work thanks to…you guess it…the tightened security.
  6. Anyone who has/will upgrade to Vista finds themselves in a digital strangle hold. Sure, they’ve got Vista but can they WORK?

Not good. Not good at all.
These vendors had several years to get new driver code written for their products. The folks over at Microsoft should have supported manufacturers in writing this new code by hook or by crook.
POP QUIZ: If the myriad products that run on your platform cease to run on your new platform, how many people do you think will adopt your new platform?
It should be pretty clear what we’re recommending to our clients. And, unless you just like to be needlessly annoyed, it should be pretty clear what you should do, too.