Windows Vista is on life support. It is dying and will be replaced as soon as possible . This blog will follow the demise of Vista on Vista Watch. We do so to highlight a)how fast the change over will be made; b)how well Microsoft treats its existing Windows XP customers. For example, when exactly will XP Service Pack 3 arrive; will all customers be allowed to buy Windows XP easily beyond June 30 2008, the current termination date for purchases; will Windows XP continue to see a full set of WinPF, WinCF, and other “Windows features and functionality”; c)how well older Windows users (ME, 2000, NT, etc) will be treated; d)will the replacement be “better”, how will “better” be defined; and how easy a transition will it be to go from Vista to Windows 7; e)how well will existing Vista users be compensated – will they get free Windows 7 and duress compensation? In short the replacement of Vista raises a number of questions for all Windows stakeholders -users, hardware vendors, software suppliers, and customers. Hence Vista Watch.

Evidence of Vistas Terminal State

There are now consistent reports that Microsoft is out to replace Vista with Windows 7. Here are some of the articles that detail the demise of Windows Vista. This is a cross section of commentators who are reasonable and frank (low ax-to-grind ratios). Here are some of those references:
Ars Technica – a cautionary tale on rushing Windows 7
Infoworld April 4,2008 – Chris Lai shows the mounting evidence of Windows 7 as replacement
Bill Gates – CNET reports that Bill says Windows 7 will arrive in 2009
Keep an Open Eye – describes the adverse effect Vista has had on the Windows Brand
Mary Jo Foley – cites lots more speculation on when Windows 7 appears
Microsoft Watch – Joe Wilcox calls it – Microsoft: A Monopoly Shakes
Paul Thurott – has a Windows 7 FAQ

And here are signs of continuing difficulties for Vista that delineate that Microsoft has to do something about Vista:
ExtremeTech – one of many blogs rushing out “Vista Fixes”
FoxNews – Even the PapaBears acknowledge problems for Vista
Performance Tests – show XP SP3 is still faster than Vista SP1
Infoworld – Vista anti-malaware continues to falter
Security Trade-offs – Vista heightens security but at risk of users turning it off

This commentator believes, like in the Ars Technica article by Robert Fisher, that Windows Vista became fatally flawed in the artificial rush to market by 2006/2007. For whatever reasons – Microsoft Vista did not get the time to make and bake properly leaving it bloated and distinctly not Market Ready leave alone the issue of it being People Ready. So now the question is whether the legions of Microsoft users and fans who continue to accord Redmond with 90%++ market share through a rather tumultuous 10 years of Windows offerings (ME DOA, XP staggers out, all Windows versions bare the brunt of the onslaught of hackers and organized crimes security attacks, transition from lowest to highest cost desktop OS at purchase, slip sliding away from the lowest TCO as non-People Ready IE and Vista demand relearning plus hardware and software incompatibility headaches, etc) – how will these users and fans react to yet another promise of better Windows? Is the barrier to change in IT shops “knowing Windows best” and many casual users “give me something that works – and dont make me think about the OS” – is this going to be sufficient to keep the Redmond desktop OS monopoly intact despite the fact that Windows Vista by its bloat and performance does not deserve that loyalty ? Vista Watch will watch that as well. But most importantly Vista Watch will track how well Microsoft and its partners treat a huge user base. The lessons from the IE world where the IE7 and IE8 browsers continue to lose once dominate 90%++ market share (now just above 70% in the US, below that in the rest of the World) are instructive.

Thus, turning around the performance, size, feature creep, and obsolete modules of the aggregated programming legacy that is Windows is certainly not beyond Microsofts technical prowess. However, clearly something went fundamentally wrong in that development culture which allowed, after 5 years and many great plans, the Botched Beast of Vista to appear on the market. Has Microsoft executive management corrected those faults such that Windows 7 can be developed without going similarly awry? And Windows 7 will inevitably be on a hardcore schedule(lots of overtime hours for Windows developers) until its release in H2 2009/H1 2010. This is a lot of duress for a team already having done 5 years in the salt mines. How well with this team be managed and rewarded will tell the tale of when Windows 7 arrives and how good a product it will be.