Rewarding Ineptitude . . .

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Vista has been delayed, again, until January.

Between now and then, 60% of the code for the consumer version of Vista will have to be rewritten.

This is not your typical delay. This is not “we have a few too many bugs to handle to get this out on time.” This is almost “go back to the drawing board” in an area that will be critical to PCdom during Vista’s life cycle.

This is bad. Really bad.

You ought to look at blogs like this one to see how bad even MS employees think the Vista project is. Even if you dismiss 80% of what is said there as hysterics/temper tantrums (and honestly, if I got masterpieces of space cadetdom like the MS memo reprinted in this article, I’d go mad, too); things are going badly at Redmond. At the very least, there seems to be advanced bureaucratic hardening of the arteries.

We won’t add to the ranting and raving about this failure; we could hardly do better than the people in that blog. 🙂

But one repeated comment got to me, and maybe it ought to get to you, too.

Some said, “This isn’t such a big disaster. Instead of getting a copy of Vista, people will get a copy of XP.”

That might not be such a disaster for MS, but what about the owners of those hundred million boxes or so that end up getting a copy of XP rather than Vista? Especially people like us?

Let’s say somebody wants to build an AM2 or Conroe system four, six months from now. If they do the right thing, they’re going to be forced to buy a copy of XP, use it for maybe six months, then have buy a second OS.

That’s relatively few people, but in the longer run, it’s safe to say that at least ten million or two of those hundred million will end up paying twice because MS screwed up.

Why should MS get a extra billion dollars or so, and say an extra half billion or so of profit from us because they’re screwups and we want to be honest?

That’s rewarding ineptitude.

Of course, there’s 2.1 ways to eliminate that problem:

1) Simply don’t buy a new machine until Vista comes out. Enough consumers are likely to do that to throw the PC industry into a tizzy.

2) For many reading this, well, you’re either not buying OSs anyway, or have little problem making the one you bought multiply. This will just make the Dark Side stronger.

2.1) If Apple ever wanted to challenge MS for the PC world, this would be the time to start selling Mac OS Xs for regular PCs. That’s very unlikely, though, unless . . . .

Hit ‘Em With A 2X4

If you look at the comments in that blog, you get many messages, but a prime one is, “Our company is going senile and the guys on top or near it aren’t accountable for anything!”

There’s something to be said for that. Problem is, there’s no one in Microsoft who seems to want to hold people accountable.

I have a suggestion. If you can’t find anybody who will impose accountability inside Microsoft, well, see who can hold MS’s feet to the fire outside.

And I know who can do that. Intel. AMD. Dell. HP. Together, united. The more, the merrier, but you get the idea: the companies that are going to lose sales the next six months because of this.

Imagine Paul Otellini and Hector Ruiz and Michael Dell and Mark Hurd, two sets of bitter rivals, putting aside their differences and standing together to hold Bill Gates and Company accountable.

That alone ought to loosen bowel control in some Redmond corporate boardrooms. They’d sue for billions, of course, but they could do so much more than that.

Just imagine the projectile diarrhea if the statement read by these folks was not angry or mad at all, but sad. Regretful. Sorrowful that perhaps Redmond had seen better days. Lovingly offering some technical assistance to help MS through their troubled times, and woefully, so woefully mentioning that it might be time to start exploring alternatives (might not hurt to have Mr. Jobs and Mr. Torvalds on the podium while doing this).

In other words, we’re not just suing Microsoft. We’re intervening so we can help them, and help/save PCdom by doing so.

Would they have a legal case? Who cares? Yes, the lost revenues for others and double billing for individuals and all the rest are important, but this delay isn’t really the problem, but rather a symptom of a much deeper problem: a senescent Microsoft. Unlike anything else in the PC world, a sclerotic MS producing a senescent Windows hurts the whole of PCdom.

The best propaganda, the best bullfeces, always has a lot of truth in it. If the history of Vista development is any indicator, MS is losing it, and now is as good a time as any to point this out.

If that Fantastic Four announced such a lawsuit, that would be the one and only mainstream media story about MS for a long, long time. Whenever Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer or any other MS honcho stuck his head outside the corporate fortress, all they’d get would be a million versions of “What’s wrong with your company?” and worse. You know the “Can Microsoft survive?” cover stories would start showing up, which I’m sure wouldn’t boost the stock price.

Never mind what the Microsoft haters would say, and eventually, some politician or ‘ticians might take up this ball and run with it, too.

It’s one thing to be considered evil; it’s quite another to be considered senile, and that’s the angle that has to played here: not “Microsoft is evil”, but “Poor Microsoft is losing it.”

What defense would MS have to that? What else could they do to counter that but fix things and start flying right?

If MS got wind of something like this happening, how much do you think it would be worth to them to keep it from happening?

Think it would be worth a coupon entitling anyone buying a copy of Windows XP after, say, July 1 to a free copy of Vista when it becomes available? That ought to stem the loss of PC sales.

More importantly, think it would be worth a real shakeup of the company?

Ed


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