While the numbers to-date are showing Vista’s uptake is going well, I can’t help but feel the launch isn’t up to the expectations of Redmond. I’ve seen influential folks like Chris Pirillo leave the OS while Mark Evans muses on the “beginning of the end” of the Windows OS. Personally, I’m utterly stunned by the missteps that surround Vista so far (and I’m not talking about a PR firm giving laptops to bloggers, this doesn’t even scratch the surface to me).
First and foremost, I think the company should not have approached the OS from a “upgrade from XP” perspective. Almost every complaint and headache report I’ve read about or witnessed has to do with the upgrade path. I think life coulda-woulda-shoulda been a lot better for MSFT had they simply made the OS a pre-install only. The only exception I’d consider is large corporations whose IT staffs have complete lockdowns on the office computers.
Fundmentally I think the biggest flaw with Vista is the suite of confusing editions. Home. Home Premium. Home Ultra. Home with Tartar Control. Home with Techron. As a general rule, the more FUD, the less buying (you can ask the high definition DVD marketplace for a reference on that one). But rather than just complain about, I’ve got my own set of Vista Editions that I think make a lot more sense in today’s world.
Vista for Laptop
Simply put, the Laptop Edition has lots and lots of power management services, and they are all extremely accessible. Airplane/Endurance mode, Presentation mode, Email/Web mode, Productivity mode, etc. Each mode is predefined for different goals, and all are tweakable for power users. I’d also like to see a “rapid charge” mode that helps me out when I need to juice up just before a flight. Further, all these services are completely removed from desktops.
Vista for Gaming
During Bill Gates’ keynote at CES this year it was mentioned that there are 200 million PC gamers around the world. Well, how about a Gaming Edition, in which the user can easily turn off EVERYTHING not needed for the game they want to play. You’d basically get two options: networked or not, and all the other services are automatically shut down while you play. And better yet, they all come back automatically when you are done.
Vista Small Business Edition
Designed specifically for companies with NO IT administrator. No need for Domain/Workgroup management. Assumption of POP3-only email services, probably no Exchange or other Windows servers. Easy integration for shared hosting for both calendaring and file transfer. Simple file sharing, simple security, etc. Also should be optimized for telecommuters, with easy VPN integration.
This is the opposite of the SMB Edition above. Assume an IT administrator is in place, and wishes to totally lock down individual applications, services, etc. Lots of configurable settings that are easily deployed across vast number of PCs.
Vista for Home
Unlike the current approach to Home, which is basically just dumbed down Business, this version puts an emphasis on personal use computing. Easy media sharing, playback, recording, etc. Tight integration with devices, especially printers, MP3 players, and digital cameras. Really strong security features, but with a wee bit more intelligence than the current setup.
Okay, I’m not really much of an enterprise computing guy, but I know the world needs servers, and I know MSFT makes em, so make a whole category dedicated to the space.
That’s my list of what I consider the missing Vista editions. By the way, most of the functionality I’ve described above already exists in Vista today, this is really a case of cleaning up the product line mess. I’m sure my list isn’t perfect, but it’s certainly easier to choose from than Home, Home Premium, and Ultimate.
How could Microsoft got it all so wrong with Vista. Take the security features, for example. While, in theory, it’s a good idea to have a secure computing experience, Vista makes security such a hassle you want to turn off the security features.