Vista, XP, and the iPhone/iPod Touch

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By Brian Tankersley

Microsoft has (for the fifth time) moved back the deadline for system builders to take delivery of Windows XP licenses to May 30, 2009.  The story is at the following page:

Other interesting stats from TGDaily's report:

  • Vista's market share on running PC's is estimated to be 20% vs. 66% for Windows XP (not shocking, since so many people have PC's which are more than two years old)
  • The report asserts that up to one third of new PC purchasers are opting for Windows XP instead of Vista.

This article seems like a tempest in a teapot at this point.  I think we've all accepted the following:

  • Apple and the news media have done a brilliant job of destroying consumer confidence in Windows Vista.  I don't hear people who actually use Vista complain about it - it's usually people who are spouting off some tag line from an Apple commercial.  At this point, it's now politically incorrect to extoll Vista's virtues (e.g. search, security).... I fully expect Vista to be erroneously listed as a cause of global warming, cancer, and starvation if the trend continues...
  • There will be issues with legacy applications in any new OS, especially when consumer expectations regarding security have increased (in Vista) vs. the focus on user experience and simplicity in XP.
  • Consumers and businesses are in many cases holding off on major upgrades until after Windows 7 ships.  At this point, I think we can expect that Vista will be everyone's favorite OS around, and we will see a repeat of the experience we've had as MS has tried to move XP along to the boneyard.

If you haven't tried Vista, you really should.  My PC is running a 64-bit version of Vista Business, and I'm really happy with it.  (In fact,'s listing of home-grade PC's on sale at various retailers is including more and more systems with 64-bit versions of Windows Vista installed)

I've been re-reading Nicholas Negroponte's excellent 1995 book, Being Digital, and one of the things which strikes me about the book's predictions about movement to a digital world is how much has really changed in the last 13 years.  The book was written before iPods, TiVo, serious high speed internet access, and cloud computing, but it seems to reinforce the expectation that these items will be coming soon.  After reading one chapter in the book, I noticed that Negroponte basically predicts the eBook reader, as well as many of the changes which have occurred in the intervening period.  My nephew got a new iPod touch from his Mom for Christmas, and I was amazed at what you can do with applications from the App Store.  I still think the iPhone is more of an overhyped toy and less of a business tool (Don't believe me?  Try typing a WPA key into one sometime.  Oh, and it doesn't have cut and paste.  Those little details....)  If you could have an add-on e-paper book reader with a keyboard for an iPod touch or an iPhone, it might go a long way toward providing that universal appliance which people are looking for.  It's clear, however, that Multi-Touch is going to revolutionize how we interact with computers in the near term, and I continue to be amazed by what people do with accelerometers in electronic devices.

Merry Christmas, and I wish you all a very safe and prosperous 2009.


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